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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 2, Issue 11

Date of first publication: 1866

Author: J. T. Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: June 28, 2018

Date last updated: June 28, 2018

Faded Page eBook #20180652

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Alex White & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net






An Illustrated Magazine




Vol. II. NOVEMBER, 1866. No. XI.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

[This table of contents is added for convenience.—Transcriber.]

















Once upon a time, in the midst of a large thick wood, there lived an old witch by herself. By day she changed herself into a cat or an owl; but in the evening she resumed her right form. She was able also to allure to her the wild animals and birds, whom she killed, cooked, and ate; for whoever ventured within a hundred steps of her castle was obliged to stand still, and could not stir from the spot until she allowed it. But if a pretty maiden came into the circle, the witch changed her into a bird, and then put her into a basket, which she carried into one of the rooms of the castle; and in this room were already many thousand such baskets of rare birds.

Now there was a young maiden named Florinda, who was exceedingly pretty, and she was betrothed to a youth named Florindel; and just at the time that the events which I am about to relate happened, they were passing the days together in a round of pleasure. One day they went into the forest for a walk, and Florindel said, “Take care that you do not go too near the castle.” It was a beautiful evening,—the sun shining between the stems of the trees, and brightening up the dark green leaves, and the turtle-doves cooing softly upon the May-bushes. Florinda began to cry, and sat down in the sunshine with Florindel, who cried too; for they were quite frightened, and thought they should die, when they looked round and saw how far they had wandered, and that there was no house in sight. The sun was yet half above the hills and half below, and Florindel, looking through the brushwood, saw the old walls of the castle close by them, which frightened him terribly, so that he fell off his seat. Then Florinda sang,

“My little bird, with his wing so red,

   Sings sorrow, and sorrow, and woe;

 For he sings that the turtle-dove soon will be dead,

   O sorrow, and sorrow, jug, jug, jug!”

Florindel lifted up his head, and saw Florinda was changed into a nightingale, which was singing, “Jug, jug, jug”; and presently an owl flew round thrice, with his eyes glistening, and crying, “Tu-whit, to-who.” Florindel could not stir. There he stood like a stone, and could not weep, nor speak, nor move hand or foot.

Meanwhile the sun set, and, the owl flying into a bush, out came an ugly old woman, thin and yellow, with great red eyes, and a crooked nose which reached down to her chin. She muttered, and seized the nightingale, and carried it away in her hand, while Florindel remained there incapable of moving or speaking.

At last the witch returned, and said, with a hollow voice, “Greet you, Zachiel! if the moon shines on your side, release this one at once.” Then Florindel became free, and fell down on his knees before the witch, and begged her to give him back Florinda; but she refused, and said he should never again have her, and went away. He cried, and wept, and groaned after her, but all to no purpose; and at length he rose and went into a strange village, where for some time he tended sheep. He often went round about the enchanted castle, but never too near; and one night, after so walking, he dreamt that he found a blood-red flower, in the middle of which lay a fine pearl. This flower he thought he broke off, and, going therewith to the castle, all he touched with it was free from enchantment, and thus he regained his Florinda.

When he awoke next morning, he began his search over hill and valley to find such a flower. Nine days had passed away, when at length, early one morning, he discovered it; and in its middle was a large dewdrop, like a beautiful pearl. Then he carried the flower, day and night, till he came to the castle; and although he ventured within the enchanted circle, he was not stopped, but walked on quite to the door. Florindel was now in high spirits, and, touching the door with his flower, it flew open. He entered, and passed through the hall, listening for the sound of the birds, which at last he heard. He found the room and went in, and there was the enchantress feeding the birds in the seven thousand baskets. As soon as she saw Florindel, she became frightfully enraged, and spat out poison and gall at him; but she dared not come too close. He would not turn back for her, but looked at the baskets of birds; but, alas! there were many hundreds of nightingales; and how was he to know his Florinda? While he was examining them, he perceived the old woman secretly taking away one of the baskets, and slipping out of the door. Florindel flew after her, and touched the basket with his flower, and also the old woman, so that she could no longer bewitch; and at once Florinda stood before him, and fell upon his neck, as beautiful as she ever was. Afterwards he disenchanted all the other birds, and then returned home with his Florinda, and for many years they lived together happily and contentedly.

From the German of Grimm.


In the July number of the “Young Folks” mention was made of the trouble given to the pretty little Summer Yellow-Bird by the intrusions of the Cow-Blackbird. From what was there said, our young readers will have understood that it is the disagreeable habit of this Blackbird, instead of building its own nest and rearing its own children, like a well-behaved and affectionate mother-bird, to lay its eggs, one by one, in the nests of other birds, by whom these are hatched out and the young birds brought up. This habit is so very remarkable, and this bird is at certain seasons so common, as to deserve more attention from us than the casual allusion there made.

Speaking of this very singular habit of the Cow-Bird, we are apt, without consideration, to say that it is “unnatural.” To us who have kind fathers and mothers that tenderly watch over and carefully bring up their children, it does at first seem very wrong in these birds, not only not to bring up their own offspring, but to impose them upon other and smaller birds, who either do not know enough, or who are not able, to protect themselves from this imposition. And when we further learn that the poor little, inoffensive young birds, into whose snug little home the young Cow-Blackbird is intruded, all perish through the means, direct or indirect, of this stranger, it seems to us as if it were all very wrong, and that it ought not to be so. But we have no right thus to judge of the works of our good Father, who made all things well. We must not speak of that as unnatural which accords with the great laws of instinctive nature which emanate from Him.

At certain seasons of the year this Blackbird is very common, coming in the early spring, leaving us in midsummer, returning in October, and leaving us again during the cold weather. They always move in flocks, sometimes consisting of not more than twenty, in the spring, but in the autumn numbering frequently many hundreds. They never mate or live together in pairs, as do most birds. They do not seem to care for one another, and never manifest any affectionate interest in each other’s welfare. They are, therefore, to all appearances, selfish, uninteresting birds, with no sweet songs to commend them, and with no attractions but their glossy black plumage, and their only object and end in life seem to be to get their living. They are called the Cow-Bird, because they frequent the pastures and enclosures where that animal is kept, feeding upon the parasitic insects which afflict it. They also feed, in the fall, upon the seeds of wild grasses and other plants that grow in marshy districts.

They are most common with us in the latter part of May, when the nests of the smaller birds are built. The female Blackbirds are on the lookout for nests whose owners are temporarily absent, in which to lay their eggs. The same bird never lays more than one egg in the same nest, but it sometimes happens that two different birds, and sometimes even three, will each lay an egg in the same place. When this happens, only one is brought up. The others perish. There are a great many different birds in whose nests the Cow-Blackbirds lay their eggs, and by whom their young are reared. The most common are the Chipping-Sparrow, the Maryland Yellowthroat, the several Vireos,—five in number in New England,—the Golden-crowned Thrush, &c. All of these are smaller birds. One or two large birds, of a mild and amiable character, like the Wood-Thrush and Wilson’s Thrush, allow themselves to be thus imposed upon, and bring up the intruder, of whom they might rid themselves, if they were so disposed. But woe betide the Cow-Bird’s egg that is dropped in the nest of the Brown Thrush! And let the intruding mother be on her guard, too, lest the owner catch her in her trespass! The one will be assuredly smashed, and the other driven away in sore discomfiture.

As soon as the young Cow-Bird is hatched by its foster-parents, its companions, whether eggs or young birds, are thrust out of the nest. I have no doubt this is done by the young Cow-Birds, though I have never caught them in the act. They are very greedy little fellows, always crying for food and never satisfied, and give a good deal of trouble to the poor birds who bring them up. Long after they have left their nests, when the great lazy things seem abundantly able to take care of themselves, I have seen them keeping up an incessant cry for more food, and giving to their adopted parents a great deal of unnecessary labor and care.

The scientific name of these Blackbirds is Molothus pecoris. There is another species of this bird in South America whose habits are very similar to those of our species. When these birds have deposited their eggs in the nests of other birds, they all seem to take their departure from this part of the country for the time being. Why they do this has never been satisfactorily explained, but has probably some connection with their food.

In Europe, a bird very different in its generic character from the Cow-Bird, the Cuckoo, has long been known to have the same peculiar habit of intruding its eggs upon other birds. This is a much larger bird than our Blackbird, being fourteen inches in length, or twice its size. Yet it is a very remarkable fact that its eggs are much smaller, the largest never weighing more than fifty-five grains. They are of the same size as the eggs of the European Skylark,—a bird that is not more than one fourth its size.

The Cuckoo of Europe is, in at least one respect, more attractive than our Blackbird. Its notes are very musical, and are listened to with great pleasure. Like those of our own Bluebird, they are the harbinger of spring to Northern Europe; and this, doubtless, adds to their popularity. They appear in England in the middle of April. They do not move in large flocks like the Cow-Bird; but, like them, they never mate. The sexes live apart, and each individual bird seems to have very little interest in any other than his or her own affairs. In all respects the habits of the female, in depositing its eggs in the nests of smaller birds, appear to be the same as those already described in the case of our own Cow-Blackbird. But more is positively known as to the murderous propensities of the young Cuckoo, the moment it is out of its shell, to destroy its foster brothers and sisters. With the Cow-Blackbird it is rather suspected than actually known. Dr. Jenner, an observing English naturalist, devoted much time and attention to investigations into the habits of the Cuckoo, especially of the young birds, and his observations are very interesting. The young Cuckoo is almost always the first hatched, and within a day or two after it appears, its instinct seems to prompt it to turn the offspring of its foster-parents out of the nest. After this has been accomplished, the young Cuckoo thus remains the sole tenant of the nest, and monopolizes the care and attention of the old birds. It does not actually destroy the eggs or young birds, but simply rolls them out of the nest. They fall to the ground, and there perish. This generally is done one or two days after the Cuckoo is hatched. Its back is singularly adapted by nature to accomplish this, being very broad and having a depression in the middle. It insinuates itself under the eggs or young birds, takes them, one by one, on its broad and hollow back, lifts them to the edge of the nest, and throws them out. Dr. Jenner witnessed a contest between two Cuckoos that happened to be hatched in the same nest, which was very remarkable. They each seemed by turns to have the advantage, as each carried the other several times nearly to the top of the nest, but was unable to carry it any farther, until at last one of them prevailed, and was able to cast out its weaker brother upon the cold ground to die.

When a bird was put into the same nest with a young Cuckoo too large and heavy for it to turn out, it would make most extraordinary efforts to do so, and appeared restless and uneasy if it could not succeed. After several days, it would seem to get over this murderous propensity. Its shape also changes when it is a few days old. The depression leaves the back, and it becomes round and full like that of other young birds.

It will thus be seen that this conduct of the young Cuckoo, which seems to us so cruel, ungrateful, and wicked, is really only carrying out the instinctive promptings of its nature, implanted within it by our Creator, doubtless for some wise purpose, though we cannot fathom nor satisfactorily explain it. Several writers have endeavored to account for these singularities in the Cuckoo, but in these attempts they have not been very successful, and their explanations are not satisfactory. All we know is that these peculiarities, both in the Cuckoos and in the Cow-Blackbirds, are as natural to them, and as much a part of the design of the All-wise, as any other natural results from natural causes less in dissonance with our views. We cannot fathom them; we cannot explain them; but we can read in them a wonderful adaptation of means to produce these ends, however strange they may appear to us.

In this country we have three species of Cuckoo. One of these, the Mangrove Cuckoo, is only found in Florida and the extreme Southern States. The other two are both found throughout the United States east of the Mississippi, and are quite common in Massachusetts. They are of nearly the same size, and are very much alike. The principal difference is in the color of their bills. One is called the Yellow-billed, the other the Black-billed Cuckoo.

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is rather the more common bird, and its habits are very much like those both of the Mangrove and of the Black-billed. It usually builds its nest in trees, near the edge of woods. This nest is very rudely made of loose sticks, simply laid across each other without being fastened in any way, and is so flat that the eggs are in danger of rolling off. A very curious habit of this Cuckoo is, after it has laid two or three eggs, and begun to hatch them, to lay another, and after a while another, and so on for some time. In this way, as young birds are hatched out and grow up, other young birds and other eggs succeed them in the same nest. Mr. Audubon once found, near Charleston, South Carolina, a nest in which there were two birds just ready to fly, three younger Cuckoos, all of different sizes and one of them just hatched out, and two eggs, one of which contained a chick and the other was quite fresh. In another instance, no less than eleven young Cuckoos had been successively hatched out and reared in the same nest, by the same parents, in one season. This is a very remarkable peculiarity in these birds, and is very unusual among birds in general.

The Black-billed Cuckoo builds a somewhat more elaborate nest than its yellow-billed relative, of sticks lined with mosses. It is usually placed in bushes or in low evergreen trees. Their eggs are bluish-green, very oval in shape, and without spots. The eggs of the Yellow-billed are larger, and of a lighter shade.

Unlike the Cuckoos of Europe, they never go in flocks, but always in pairs, are very affectionate to each other, evince by loud lamentations their fondness for their mates when they are wounded or killed, and are also very devoted to their young. In a word, except in their name, their form, and their food, they have no resemblance to the Cuckoos of Europe.

Many years since, I was an eyewitness to a very touching instance of the affection and devotion of one of our Black-billed Cuckoos to its young. Its mate, a female, had been shot by a cruel or thoughtless boy, as it was feeding its young birds. The nest contained three young and two eggs unhatched. Taking a warm interest in the fate of this poor orphaned brood, I visited it late in the same afternoon, and was delighted to find the male bird tenderly caring for his motherless children. I kept a careful watch over this interesting family, visiting them several times a day for two or three weeks. Nothing could surpass the assiduity of the parent bird. He hatched out the two eggs and was yet also able to provide food for his elder children, the warmth of whose bodies, without doubt, aided him in the incubation. In due time the five young Cuckoos were successfully reared, thanks to the fidelity and devotion of their widowed parent.

And yet Mr. Darwin, a distinguished English naturalist, argues, that, because our Cuckoos build so rude a nest, and thus rear their young, with alternations of laying their eggs and hatching them, they are but a slight remove from the Cuckoo of Europe. I cannot see the justice of these conclusions, nor can I see any resemblance between the selfish, unconjugal, unparental European, and the self-sacrificing and exemplary American bird. If the latter builds a rude, inartistic nest, so does also that most devoted of all the families of birds, the Dove, while many other birds of unquestioned parental integrity build no nest at all, but lay their eggs on the bare ground.

While in their relations with one another our Cuckoos are thus exemplary and tender, we regret to say that towards other birds they are not always so well behaved. They have a bad reputation, which I fear they deserve, of destroying the eggs in the nests of various smaller kinds of birds, which cannot be commended nor approved.

Neither of our Cuckoos has any song, and in this respect they are far behind their European relative. Their only note, alike in both species, is a harsh, guttural cry of “Kow-kow-kow,” which the male repeats monotonously. By some this sound is said to forebode foul weather; and the birds are, in certain parts of the country, in consequence of this association of their cries, called Rain-Crows.

T. M. B.


Sin Saxon came heart and soul into Miss Craydocke’s generous and delicate plans. The work was done, to be sure. The third trunk, that had been “full of old winter-dresses to be made over,” was locked upon the nice little completed frocks and sacks that forestalled the care and hurry of “fall work” for the overburdened mother, and should gladden her unexpecting eyes, as such store only can gladden the anxious family manager who feels the changeful, shortening days to come treading, with their speedy demands, upon the very skirts of long, golden, sunshiny August hours.

Susan and Martha Josselyn felt, on their part, as only busy workers feel who fasten the last thread, or dash a period to the last page, and turn around to breathe the breath of the free, and choose for once and for a while what they shall do. The first hour of this freedom rested them more than the whole six weeks that they had been getting half-rest, with the burden still upon their thought and always waiting for their hands. It was like the first half-day to children, when school has closed and books are brought home for the long vacation. All the possible delight of coming weeks is distilled to one delicious drop, and tasted then.

“It’s ‘none of my funeral,’ I know,” Sin Saxon said to Miss Craydocke. “I’m only an eleventh-hour helper; but I’ll come in for the holiday business, if you’ll let me; and perhaps, after all, that’s more in my line.”

Everything seemed to be in her line that she once took hold of. She had little private consultations with Miss Craydocke. “It’s to be your party to Feathercap, but it shall be my party to Minster Rock,” she said. “Leave that to me, please. Now the howl’s off my hands, I feel equal to anything.”

Just in time for the party to Minster Rock, a great basket and box from home arrived for Sin Saxon. In the first were delicious early peaches, rose-color and gold, wrapped one by one in soft paper and laid among fine sawdust; early pears also, with the summer incense in their spiciness; greenhouse grapes, white and amber and purple. The other held delicate cakes and confections unknown to Outledge, as carefully put up, and quite fresh and unharmed. “Everything comes in right for me,” she exclaimed, running back and forth to Miss Craydocke with new and more charming discoveries as she excavated. Not a word did she say of the letter that had gone down from her four days before, asking her mother for these things, and to send her some money;—“for a party,” she told her, “that she would rather give here than to have her usual summer fête after her return.”

“You quite eclipse and extinguish my poor little doings,” said Miss Craydocke, admiring and rejoicing all the while as genuinely as Sin herself.

“Dear Miss Craydocke!” cried the girl, “if I thought it would seem like that, I would send and tip them all into the river. But you,—you can’t be eclipsed! Your orbit runs too high above ours.”

Sin Saxon’s brightness and independence, that lapsed so easily into sauciness, and made it so hard for her to observe the mere conventionalisms of respect, in no way hindered the real reverence that grew in her toward the superiority she recognized, and that now softened her tone to a tenderness of humility before her friend.

There was a grace upon her in these days that all saw. Over her real wit and native vivacity, it was like a porcelain shade about a flame. One could look at it, and be glad of it, without winking. The brightness was all there, but there was a difference in the giving forth. What had been a bit self-centred and self-conscious—bright as if only for being bright and for dazzling—was outgoing and self-forgetful, and so softened. Leslie Goldthwaite read by it a new answer to some of her old questions. “What harm is there in it?” she had asked herself on their first meeting, when Sin Saxon’s overflow of merry mischief, that yet did “no special or obvious good,” made her so taking,—so the centre of whatever group into which she came. Afterward, when, running to its height, this spirit showed in behavior that raised misgivings among the scrupulous and orderly that would not let them any longer be wholly amused, and came near betraying her, or actually did betray her, into indecorums beyond excuse or countenance, Leslie had felt the harm, and begun to shrink away. “Nothing but leaves” came back to her; her summer thought recurred and drew to itself a new illustration. This it was to have no aim but to rustle and flaunt; to grow leaves continually; to make one’s self central and conspicuous, and to fill great space. But now among these very leaves gleamed something golden and glorious; something was ripening suddenly out that had lain unseen in its greenness; the time of figs seemed coming. Sin Saxon was intent upon new purpose; something to be done would not let her “stand upon the order” or the fashion of her doing. She forgot her little airs, that had been apt to detract from her very wit, and leave it only smartness; bright things came to her, and she uttered and acted them; but they seemed involuntary and only on the way; she could not help herself, and nobody would have had it helped; she was still Sin Saxon; but she had simply told the truth in her wayward way that morning. Miss Craydocke had done it, with her kindly patience that was no stupidity, her simple dignity that never lowered itself and that therefore could not be lowered, and her quiet continuance in generous well-doing,—and Sin Saxon was different. She was won to a perception of the really best in life,—that which this plain old spinster, with her “scrap of lace and a front,” had found worth living for after the golden days were over. The impulse of temperament, and the generosity which made everything instant and entire with her, acted in this also, and carried her full over to an enthusiasm of affectionate co-operation.

There were a few people at Outledge—of the sort who, having once made up their minds that no good is ever to come out of Nazareth, see all things in the light of that conviction—who would not allow the praise of any voluntary amendment to this tempering and new direction of Sin’s vivacity. “It was time she was put down,” they said, “and they were glad that it was done. That last outbreak had finished her. She might as well run after people now, whom she had never noticed before: it was plain there was nothing else left for her: her place was gone, and her reign was over.” Of all others, Mrs. Thoresby insisted upon this most strongly.

The whole school-party had considerably subsided. Madam Routh held a tighter rein; but that Sin Saxon had a place and a power still, she found ways to show in a new spirit. Into a quiet corner of the dancing-hall,—skimming her way, with the dance yet in her feet, between groups of staid observers,—she came straight, one evening, from a bright, spirited figure of the German, and stretched her hand to Martha Josselyn. “It’s in your eyes,” she whispered,—“come!”

Night after night Martha Josselyn had sat there, with the waltz-music in her ears, and her little feet, that had had one merry winter’s training before the war, and many a home practice since with the younger ones, quivering to the time beneath her robes, and seen other girls chosen out and led away,—young matrons, and little short-petticoated children even, taken to “excursionize” between the figures,—while nobody thought of her. “I might be ninety, or a cripple,” she said to her sister, “from their taking for granted it is nothing to me. How is it that everything goes by, and I only twenty?” There had been danger that Martha Josselyn’s sweet, generous temper should get a dash of sour, only because of there lying alongside it a clear common-sense and a pure instinct of justice. Susan’s heart longed with a motherly tenderness for her young sister when she said such words,—longed to put all pleasant things somehow within her reach. She had given it up for herself, years since. And now, all at once, Sin Saxon came and “took her out.”

It was a more generous act than it shows for, written. There is a little tacit consent about such things which few young people of a “set” have thought, desire, or courage to disregard. Sin Saxon never did anything more gracefully. It was one of the moments that came now, when she wist not that she shone. She was dropping, little by little, in the reality of a better desire, that “satisfaction” Jeannie Hadden had spoken of, of “knowing when one is at one’s prettiest,” or doing one’s cleverest. The “leaf and the fruit” never fitted better in their significance than to Sin Saxon. Something intenser and more truly living was taking the place of the mere flutter and flash and grace of effect.

It was the figure in which the dancers form in facing columns, two and two, the girls and the young men; when the “four hands round” keeps them moving in bright circles all along the floor, and under arches of raised and joined hands the girls come down, two and two, to the end, forming their long line to face again the opposing line of their partners. The German may be, in many respects, an undesirable dance; it may be, as I have sometimes thought, at least a selfish dance, affording pleasure chiefly to the initiated few, and excluding gradually almost from society itself those who do not participate in it. I speak of it here neither to uphold nor to condemn,—simply because they did dance it at Outledge as they do everywhere, and I cannot tell my story without it; but I think at this moment, when Sin Saxon led the figure with Martha Josselyn, there was something lovely, not alone in its graceful grouping, but in the very spirit and possibility of the thing that so appeared. There is scope and chance even here, young girls, for the beauty of kindness and generous thought. Even here, one may give a joy, may soothe a neglect, may make some heart conscious for a moment of the great warmth of a human welcome; and, though it be but to a pastime, I think it comes into the benison of the Master’s words, when, even for this, some spirit gets a feeling like them,—“I was a stranger, and ye took me in.”

Some one, standing behind where Leslie Goldthwaite came to her place at the end of the line by the hall-door, had followed and interpreted the whole; had read the rare, shy pleasure in Martha Josselyn’s face and movement, the bright, expressive warmth in Sin Saxon’s, and the half-surprise of observation upon others; and he thought as I do.

“ ‘Friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.’ That girl has even sanctified the German!”

There was only one voice like that,—only one person who would so speak himself out. Leslie Goldthwaite turned quickly, and found herself face to face with Marmaduke Wharne. “I am so glad you have come!” said she.

He regarded her shrewdly. “Then you can do without me,” he said. “I didn’t know by this time how it might be.”

The last two had taken their places below Leslie while these words were exchanged, and now the whole line moved forward to meet their partners, and the waltz began. Frank Scherman had got back to-day, and was dancing with Sin Saxon. Leslie and Dakie Thayne were together, as they had been that first evening at Jefferson, and as they often were. The four stopped, after their merry whirl, in this same corner by the door where Mr. Wharne was standing. Dakie Thayne shook hands with his friend in his glad boy’s way. Across their greetings came Sin Saxon’s words, spoken to her companion,—“You’re to take her, Frank.” Frank Scherman was an old childhood’s friend, not a mere mountain acquaintance. “I’ll bring up plenty of others first, but you’re to wait and take her. And, wherever she got her training, you’ll find she’s the featest-footed among us.” It was among the children—training them—that she had caught the trick of it, but Sin Saxon did not know.

“I’m ready to agree with you, with but just the reservation that you could not make,” Frank Scherman answered.

“Nonsense,” said Sin Saxon. “But stop! here’s something better and quicker. They’re getting the bouquets. Give her yours. It’s your turn. Go.”

Sin Saxon’s blue eyes sparkled like two stars; the golden mist of her hair was tossed into lighter clouds by exercise; on her cheeks a bright rose-glow burned; and the lips parted with their sweetest, because most unconscious, curve over the tiny gleaming teeth. Her word and her glance sent Frank Scherman straight to do her bidding; and a bunch of wild azalias and scarlet lilies was laid in Martha Josselyn’s hand, and she was taken out again into the dance by the best partner there. We may trust her to Sin Saxon and Frank Scherman, and her own “feat-footedness”; everything will not go by her any more, and she but twenty.

Marmaduke Wharne watched it all with that keen glance of his that was like a level line of fire from under the rough, gray brows.

“I am glad you saw that,” said Leslie Goldthwaite, watching also, and watching him.

“By the light of your own little text,—‘kind, and bright, and pleasant’? You think it will do me good?”

“I think it was good; and I am glad you should really know Sin Saxon—at the first.” And at the best; Marmaduke Wharne quite understood her. She gave him, unconsciously, the key to a whole character. It might as easily have been something quite different that he should have first seen in this young girl.

Next morning they all met on the piazza. Leslie Goldthwaite presented Sin Saxon to Mr. Wharne.

“So, my dear,” he said, without preface, “you are the belle of the place?”

He looked to see how she would take it. There was not the first twinkle of a simper about eye or lip. Surprised, but quite gravely, she looked up, and met his odd bluntness with as quaint an honesty of her own. “I was pretty sure of it a while ago,” she said. “And perhaps I was, in a demoralized sort of a way. But I’ve come down, Mr. Wharne,—like the coon. I’ll tell you presently,” she went on,—and she spoke now with warmth,—“who is the real belle,—the beautiful one of this place! There she comes!”

Miss Craydocke, in her nice, plain cambric morning-gown, and her smooth front, was approaching down the side-passage across the wing. Just as she had come one morning, weeks ago; and it was the identical “fresh petticoat” of that morning she wore now. The sudden coincidence and recollection struck Sin Saxon as she spoke. To her surprise, Miss Craydocke and Marmaduke Wharne moved quickly toward each other, and grasped hands like old friends.

“Then you know all about it!” Sin Saxon said, a few minutes after, when she got her chance. “But you don’t know, sir,” she added, with a desperate candor, “the way I took to find it out! I’ve been tormenting her, Mr. Wharne, all summer. And I’m heartily ashamed of it.”

Marmaduke Wharne smiled. There was something about this girl that suited his own vein. “I doubt she was tormented,” he said, quietly.

At that Sin Saxon smiled too, and looked up out of her hearty shame which she had truly felt upon her at her own reminder. “No, Mr. Wharne, she never was; but that wasn’t my fault. After all, perhaps,—isn’t that what the optimists think?—it was best so. I should never have found her thoroughly out in any other way. It’s like”—and there she stopped short of her comparison.

“Like what?” asked Mr. Wharne, waiting.

“I can’t tell you now, sir,” she answered with a gleam of her old fearless brightness. “It’s one end of a grand idea, I believe, that I just touched on. I must think it out, if I can, and see if it all holds together.”

“And then I’m to have it?”

“It will take a monstrous deal of thinking, Mr. Wharne.”

“If I could only remember the chemicals!” said Sin Saxon. She was down among the outcrops and fragments at the foot of Minster Rock. Close in around the stones grew the short, mossy sward. In a safe hollow between two of them, against a back formed by another that rose higher with a smooth perpendicular, she had chosen her fireplace, and there she had been making the coffee. Quite intent upon the comfort of her friends she was to-day; something really to do she had; “in better business,” as Leslie Goldthwaite phrased it to herself once, she found herself, than only to make herself brilliant and enchanting after the manner of the day at Feathercap. And let me assure you, if you have not tried it, that to make the coffee and arrange the feast at a picnic like this is something quite different from being merely an ornamental. There is the fire to coax with chips and twigs, and a good deal of smoke to swallow, and one’s dress to disregard. And all the rest are off in scattered groups, not caring in the least to watch the pot boil, but supposing, none the less, that it will. To be sure, Frank Scherman and Dakie Thayne brought her firewood, and the water from the spring, and waited loyally while she seemed to need them; indeed, Frank Scherman, much as he unquestionably was charmed with her gay moods, stayed longest by her in her quiet ones; but she sent them off, herself, at last, to climb with Leslie and the Josselyns again into the Minster, and see thence the wonderful picture that the late sloping light made on the far hills and fields that showed to their sight between framing tree-branches and tall trunk-shafts as they looked from out the dimness of the rock.

She sat there alone, working out a thought; and at last she spoke as I have said,—“If I could only remember the chemicals!”

“My dear! What do you mean? The chemicals? For the coffee?” It was Miss Craydocke who questioned, coming up with Mr. Wharne.

“Not the coffee,—no,” said Sin Saxon, laughing rather absently, as too intent to be purely amused. “But the—assaying. There,—I’ve remembered that word, at least!”

Miss Craydocke was more than ever bewildered. “What is it, my dear? An experiment?”

“No; an analogy. Something that’s been in my head these three days. I can’t make everything quite clear, Mr. Wharne, but I know it’s there. I went, I must tell you, a little while ago, to see some Colorado specimens—ores and things—that some friends of ours had, who are interested in the mines; and they talked about the processes; and somebody explained. There were gold and silver and iron and copper and lead and sulphur, that had all been boiled up together some time, and cooled into rock. And the thing was to sort them out. First, they crushed the whole mass into powder, and then did something to it—applied heat I believe—to drive away the sulphur. That fumed off, and left the rest as promiscuous as before. Then they—oxidized the lead, however they managed it, and got that out. You see I’m not quite sure of the order of things, or of the chemical part. But they got it out, and something took it. Then they put in quicksilver, and that took hold of the gold. Then there were silver and copper and iron. So they had to put back the lead again, and that grappled the silver. And what they did with the copper and iron is just what I can’t possibly recollect, but they divided them somehow, and there was the great rock-riddle all read out. Now, haven’t we been just like that this summer? And I wonder if the world isn’t like it somehow? And ourselves, too, all muddled up, and not knowing what we are made of, till the right chemicals touch us? There’s so much in it, Mr. Wharne, I can’t put it in clear order. But it is there,—isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is there,” answered Mr. Wharne, with the briefest gravity. For Miss Craydocke, there were little shining drops standing in her eyes, and she tried not to wink lest they should fall out, pretending they had been really tears. And what was there to cry about, you know?

“Here we have been,” Sin Saxon resumed, “all crushed up together, and the characters coming out little by little, with different things. Sulphur’s always the first,—heats up and flies off,—it don’t take long to find that; and common oxygen gets at common lead; and so on; but, dear Miss Craydocke, do you know what comforts me? That you must have the quicksilver to discover the gold!”

Miss Craydocke winked. She had to do it then, and the two little round drops fell. They went down, unseen, into the short pasture-grass, and I wonder what little wild-flowers grew of their watering some day afterward.

It was getting a little too quiet between them now for people on a picnic, perhaps; and so in a minute Sin Saxon said again: “It’s good to know there is a way to sort everything out. Perhaps the tares and wheat mean the same thing. Mr. Wharne, why is it that things seem more sure and true as soon as we find out we can make an allegory to them?”

“Because we do not make the allegory. It is there as you have said. ‘I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.’ These things are that speech of God that was in the beginning. The Word made flesh,—it is He that interpreteth.”

That was too great to give small answer to. Nobody spoke again till Sin Saxon had to jump up to attend to her coffee, that was boiling over, and then they took up their little cares of the feast, and their chat over it.

Cakes and coffee, fruits and cream,—I do not care to linger over these. I would rather take you to the cool, shadowy, solemn Minster cavern, the deep, wondrous recess in the face of solid rock, whose foundation and whose roof are a mountain; or above, upon the beetling crag that makes but its porch-lintel, and looks forth itself across great air-spaces toward its kindred cliffs, lesser and more mighty, all around, making one listen in one’s heart for the awful voices wherein they call to each other forevermore.

The party had scattered again, after the repast, and Leslie and the Josselyns had gone back into the Minster entrance, where they never tired of standing, and out of whose gloom now they looked upon all the flood of splendor, rosy, purple, and gold, which the royal sun flung back—his last and richest largess—upon the heights that looked longest after him. Mr. Wharne and Miss Craydocke climbed the cliff. Sin Saxon, on her way up, stopped short among the broken crags below. There was something very earnest in her gaze, as she lifted her eyes, wide and beautiful with the wonder in them, to the face of granite upreared before her, and then turned slowly to look across and up the valley, where other and yet grander mountain ramparts thrust their great forbiddance on the reaching vision. She sat down, where she was, upon a rock.

“You are very tired?” Frank Scherman said, inquiringly.

“See how they measure themselves against each other,” Sin Saxon said, for answer. “Look at them—Leslie and the rest—inside the Minster that arches up so many times their height above their heads, yet what a little bit—a mere mouse-hole—it is out of the cliff itself; and then look at the whole cliff against the Ledges, that, seen from anywhere else, seem to run so low along the river; and compare the Ledges with Feathercap, and Feathercap with Giant’s Cairn, and Giant’s Cairn with Washington, thirty miles away!”

“It is grand surveying,” said Frank Scherman.

“I think we see things from the little best,” rejoined Sin Saxon. “Washington is the big end of the telescope.”

“Now you have made me look at it,” said Frank Scherman, “I don’t think I have been in any other spot that has given me such a real idea of the mountains as this. One must have steps to climb by, even in imagination. How impertinent we are, rushing at the tremendousness of Washington in the way we do; scaling it in little pleasure-wagons, and never taking in the thought of it at all!”

Something suddenly brought a flush to Sin Saxon’s face, and almost a quiver to her lips. She was sitting with her hands clasped across her knees, and her head a little bent with a downward look, after that long, wondering mountain gaze, that had filled itself and then withdrawn for thought. She lifted her face suddenly to her companion. The impetuous look was in her eyes. “There’s other measuring too, Frank. What a fool I’ve been!”

Frank Scherman was silent. It was a little awkward for him, scarcely comprehending what she meant. He could by no means agree with Sin Saxon when she called herself a fool; yet he hardly knew what he was to contradict.

“We’re well placed at this minute. Leslie Goldthwaite and Dakie Thayne and the Josselyns half-way up above there, in the Minster. Mr. Wharne and Miss Craydocke at the top. And I down here, where I belong. Impertinence? To think of the things I’ve said in my silliness to that woman, whose greatness I can no more measure! Why didn’t somebody stop me? I don’t answer for you, Frank, and I won’t keep you; but I think I’ll just stay where I am, and not spoil the significance!”

“I’m content to rank beside you; we can climb together,” said Frank Scherman. “Even Miss Craydocke has not got to the highest, you see,” he went on, a little hurriedly.

Sin Saxon broke in as hurriedly as he, with a deeper flush still upon her face. “There’s everything beyond. That’s part of it. But she helps one to feel what the higher—the Highest—must be. She’s like the rock she stands on. She’s one of the steps.”

“Come, Asenath; let’s go up.” And he held out his hand to her till she took it and rose. They had known each other from childhood, as I said; but Frank Scherman hardly ever called her by her name. “Miss Saxon” was formal, and her school sobriquet he could not use. It seemed to mean a great deal when he did say “Asenath.”

And Sin Saxon took his hand and let him lead her up, notwithstanding the “significance.”

They are young, and I am not writing a love-story; but I think they will “climb together”; and that the words that wait to be said are mere words,—they have known and understood each other so long.

“I feel like a camel at a fountain; drinking in what is to last through the dry places,” said Martha Josselyn, as they came up. “Miss Saxon, you don’t know what you have given us to-day. I shall take home the hills in my heart.”

“We might have gone without seeing this,” said Susan.

“No, you mightn’t,” said Sin Saxon. “It’s my good luck to see you see it, that’s all. It couldn’t be in the order of things, you know, that you should be so near it, and want it, and not have it, somehow.”

“So much is in the order of things, though!” said Martha. “And there are so many things we want, without knowing them even to be!”

Drawn by A. Hoppin.
See A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite’s Life, Chap. XI. page 656.

“That’s the beauty of it, I think,” said Leslie Goldthwaite, turning back from where she stood, bright in the sunset glory, on the open rock. Her voice was like that of some young prophet of joy, she was so full of the gladness and loveliness of the time. “That’s the beauty of it, I think. There is such a worldful, and you never know what you may be coming to next!”

“Well, this is our last—of the mountains. We go on Tuesday.”

“It isn’t your last of us, though, or of what we want of you,” rejoined Sin Saxon. “We must have the tableaux for Monday. We can’t do without you in Robin Gray, or Consolation. And about Tuesday,—it’s only your own making up of minds. You haven’t written, have you? They don’t expect you? When a week’s broken in upon, like a dollar, the rest is of no account. And there’ll be sure to be something doing, so many are going the week after.”

“We shall have letters to-night,” said Susan. “But I think we must go on Tuesday.”

Everybody had letters that night. The mail was in early, and Captain Green came up from the post-office as the Minster party was alighting from the wagons. He gave Dakie Thayne the bag. It was Dakie’s delight to distribute, calling out the fortunate names as the expectant group pressed around him, like people waiting the issue of a lottery-venture.

“Mrs. Linceford, Miss Goldthwaite, Mrs. Linceford, Mrs. Lince-ford! Master—hm! Thayne,” and he pocketed a big one like a despatch. “Captain Jotham Green. Where is he? Here, Captain Green; you and I have got the biggest, if Mrs. Linceford does get the most. I believe she tells her friends to write in bits, and put one letter into three or four envelopes. When I was a very little boy, I used to get a dollar changed into a hundred coppers, and feel ever so much richer.”

“That boy’s forwardness is getting insufferable!” exclaimed Mrs. Thoresby, sitting apart, with two or three others, who had not joined the group about Dakie Thayne. “And why Captain Green should give him the bag always, I can’t understand. It is growing to be a positive nuisance.”

Nobody out of the Thoresby clique thought it so. They had a merry time together,—“you and I and the post,” as Dakie said. But then, between you and me and that confidential personage, Mrs. Thoresby and her daughters hadn’t very many letters.

“That is all,” said Dakie, shaking the bag. “They’re only for the very good, to-night.” He was not saucy: he was only brimming-over glad. He knew “Noll’s” square handwriting, and his big envelopes.

There was great news to-night at the Cottage. They were to have a hero—perhaps two or three—among them. General Ingleside and friends were coming, early in the week, the Captain told them with expansive face. There are a great many generals and a great many heroes now. This man had been a hero beside Sheridan, and under Sherman. Colonel Ingleside he was at Stone River and Chattanooga, leading a brave Western regiment in desperate, magnificent charges, whose daring helped to turn that terrible point of the war and made his fame.

But Leslie, though her heart stirred at the thought of a real, great commander fresh from the field, had her own news that half neutralized the excitement of the other. Cousin Delight was coming, to share her room with her for the last fortnight.

The Josselyns got their letters. Aunt Lucy was staying on. Aunt Lucy’s husband had gone away to preach for three Sundays for a parish where he had a prospect of a call. Mrs. Josselyn could not leave home immediately, therefore, although the girls should return; and their room was the airiest for Aunt Lucy. There was no reason why they should not prolong their holiday if they chose, and they might hardly ever get away to the mountains again. More than all, Uncle David was off once more for China and Japan, and had given his sister two more fifties,—“for what did a sailor want of greenbacks after he got afloat?” It was a “clover summer” for the Josselyns. Uncle David and his fifties wouldn’t be back among them for two years or more. They must make the most of it.

Sin Saxon sat up late, writing this letter to her mother.

Darling Mamma:—

“I’ve just begun to find out really what to do here. Cream doesn’t always rise to the top. You remember the Josselyns, our quiet neighbors in town, that lived in the little house in the old-fashioned block opposite,—Sue Josselyn, Effie’s schoolmate? And how they used to tell me stories, and keep me to nursery-tea? Well, they’re the cream,—they and Miss Craydocke. Sue has been in the hospitals,—two years, mamma!—while I’ve been learning nocturnes, and going to Germans. And Martha has been at home, sewing her face sharp; and they’re here now to get rounded out. Well, now, mamma, I want so—a real dish of mountains and cream, if you ever heard of such a thing! I want to take a wagon, and invite a party as I did my little one to Minster Rock, and go through the hills,—be gone as many days as you will send me money for. And I want you to take the money from that particular little corner of your purse where my carpet and wall-paper and curtains, that were to new-furnish my room on my leaving school, are metaphorically rolled up. There’s plenty there, you know; for you promised me my choice of everything, and I had fixed on that lovely pearl-gray paper at ——’s, with the ivy and holly pattern, and the ivy and scarlet-geranium carpet that was such a match. I’ll have something cheaper, or nothing at all, and thank you unutterably, if you’ll only let me have my way in this. It will do me so much good, mamma! More than you’ve the least idea of. People can do without French paper and Brussels carpets, but everybody has a right to mountain and sea and cloud glory,—only they don’t half of them get it, and perhaps that’s the other half’s look-out!

“I know you’ll understand me, mamma, particularly when I talk sense; for you always understood my nonsense when nobody else did. And I’m going to do your faith and discrimination credit yet.

“Your bad child,—with just a small, hidden savor of grace in her, being your child. Asenath Saxon.

Author of “Faith Gartney’s Girlhood.”


What poor little miserable bird art thou?

Where is thy home? Does some old oak-bough,

Some hole in the wall, some crevice narrow,

Serve as a home for thee, poor sparrow?

I should almost think, indeed, underground

The likeliest place for thy nest to be found,

Thou lookest so rumpled, so shabby, and gray.

And what is thy business here, I pray?

Ah! now I see; thou’rt in hopes to be able

To gather up seed from the rich bird’s table;

I notice thou’rt eagerly picking up all

That chance from the cage above to fall.

Poor little beggar-bird! Dost not thou wish

Thou couldst have supper served up in a dish,

Live in a beautiful house, and, at night,

Be carried in-doors and shut up tight,

Like those little speckled foreigners there,

That are treated with so much kindness and care?

They never know all the trials and pain

That arise from hunger, cold, and rain.

I cannot but laugh to see with what pains

Thou’rt hunting about for those little grains

Which our favored birds of the “upper ten”

Throw aside and never think of again.


“Laugh away in your pride, laugh away;

   What do you think I care?

 Call me a beggar you may,

   But I’m a bird of the air.

 Think you I’d a prisoner be?

 No; liberty is life to me.


“Do you suppose that your foreign birds

   Prefer with you to stay?

 Open the door, and with very few words

   I’ll warrant they’d fly away.

 A gilded cage can never compare

 With freedom to sweep through God’s pure air.


“A nest, to be sure, in a tree

   Is the only home I know;

 But the rain can never reach me,

   And you would not pity me so

 If you could but hear how I sing and shout

 When the golden sun from the clouds bursts out.


“And if I do have to fly

   The fields and gardens o’er

 For the seed that your birds fling by,

   I enjoy it all the more.

 I eat my food and away I hie.

 Who’d live in a cage? Not I! Not I!”


Maria S. Cummins.


When I was in Germany, four or five years ago, I spent several weeks of the summer-time in a small town among the Thuringian Mountains. This is a range on the borders of Saxony, something like our Green Mountains in height and form, but much darker in color, on account of the thick forests of fir which cover them. I had visited this region several times before, and knew not only all the roads, but most of the foot-paths, and had made some acquaintance with the people: so I felt quite at home among them, and was fond of taking long walks up to the ruins of castles on the peaks, or down into the wild, rocky dells between them.

The people are mostly poor, and very laborious; yet all their labor barely produces enough to keep them from want. There is not much farming land, as you may suppose. The men cut wood, the women spin flax and bleach linen, and the children gather berries, tend cattle on the high mountain pastures, or act as guides to the summer travellers. A great many find employment in the manufacture of toys, of which there are several establishments in this region, producing annually many thousands of crying and speaking dolls, bleating lambs, barking dogs, and roaring lions.

Behind the town where I lived, there was a spur of the mountains, crowned by the walls of a castle built by one of the Dukes who ruled over that part of Saxony eight or nine hundred years ago. Beyond this ruin, the mountain rose more gradually, until it reached the highest ridge, about three miles distant. In many places the forest had been cut away, leaving open tracts where the sweet mountain grass grew thick and strong, and where there were always masses of heather, harebells, foxgloves, and wild pinks. Every morning all the cattle of the town were driven up to these pastures, each animal with a bell hanging to its neck, and the sound of so many hundred bells tinkling all at once made a chime which could be heard at a long distance.

One of my favorite walks was to mount to the ruined castle, and pass beyond it to the flowery pasture-slopes, from which I had a wide view of the level country to the north, and the mountain-ridges on both sides. Here, it was very pleasant to sit on a rock, in the sunny afternoon, and listen to the continual sound of bells which filled the air. Sometimes one of the herd-boys would sing, or shout to the others across the intervening glens, while the village girls, with baskets of bark, hunted for berries along the edges of the forests. Although so high on the mountain, the landscape was never lonely.

One day, during my ramble, I came upon two smaller herds of cattle, each tended by a single boy. They were near each other, but not on the same pasture, for there was a deep hollow, or dell, between. Nevertheless they could plainly see each other, and even talk whenever they liked, by shouting a little. As I came out of a thicket upon the clearing, on one side of the hollow, the herd-boy tending the cattle nearest to me was sitting among the grass, and singing with all his might the German song, commencing,

“Tra, ri, ro!

 The summer’s here, I know!”

His back was towards me, but I noticed that his elbows were moving very rapidly. Curious to learn what he was doing, I slipped quietly around some bushes to a point where I could see him distinctly, and found that he was knitting a woollen stocking. Presently he lifted his head, looked across to the opposite pasture, and cried out, “Hans! the cows!”

I looked also, and saw another boy of about the same age start up and run after his cattle, the last one of which was entering the forests. Then the boy near me gave a glance at his own cattle, which were quietly grazing on the slope, a little below him, and went on with his knitting. As I approached, he heard my steps and turned towards me, a little startled at first; but he was probably accustomed to seeing strangers, for I soon prevailed upon him to tell me his name and age. He was called Otto, and was twelve years old; his father was a wood-cutter, and his mother spun and bleached linen.

“And how much,” I asked him, “do you get for taking care of the cattle?”

“I am to have five thalers,” (about four dollars,) he answered, “for the whole summer: but it don’t go to me, it’s for father. But then I make a good many groschen by knitting, and that’s for my winter clothes. Last year I could buy a coat, and this year I want to get enough for trousers and new shoes. Since the cattle know me so well, I have only to talk and they mind me; and that, you see, gives me plenty of time to knit.”

“I see,” I said; “it’s a very good arrangement. I suppose the cattle over on the other pasture don’t know their boy? He has not got them all out of the woods yet.”

“Yes, they know him,” said Otto, “and that’s the reason they slip away. But then cattle mind some persons better than others; I’ve seen that much.”

Here he stopped talking, and commenced knitting again. I watched him awhile, as he rapidly and evenly rattled off the stitches. He evidently wanted to make the most of his time. Then I again looked across the hollow, where Hans—the other boy—had at last collected his cows. He stood on the top of a rock, flinging stones down the steep slope. When he had no more, he stuck his hands in his pockets and whistled loudly, to draw Otto’s attention; but the latter pretended not to hear. Then I left them; for the shadow of the mountain behind me was beginning to creep up the other side of the valley.

A few days afterwards I went up to the pasture again, and came, by chance, to the head of the little dell dividing the two herds. I had been wandering in the fir-forest, and reached the place unexpectedly. There was a pleasant view from the spot, and I seated myself in the shade, to rest and enjoy it. The first object which attracted my attention was Otto, knitting as usual, beside his herd of cows. Then I turned to the other side to discover what Hans was doing. His cattle, this time, were not straying; but neither did he appear to be minding them in the least. He was walking backwards and forwards on the mountain-side, with his eyes fixed upon the ground. Sometimes, where the top of a rock projected from the soil, he would lean over it, and look along it from one end to the other, as if he were trying to measure its size; then he would walk on, pull a blue flower, and then a yellow one, look at them sharply, and throw them away. “What is he after?” I said to myself. “Has he lost something, and is trying to find it? or are his thoughts so busy with something else that he doesn’t really know what he is about?”

I watched him for nearly half an hour, at the end of which time he seemed to get tired, for he gave up looking about, and sat down in the grass. The cattle were no doubt acquainted with his ways,—(it is astonishing how much intelligence they have!)—and they immediately began to move towards the forest, and would soon have wandered away, if I had not headed them off and driven them back. Then I followed them, much to the surprise of Hans, who had been aroused by the noise of their bells as they ran from me.

“You don’t keep a very good watch, my boy!” I said.

As he made no answer, I asked, “Have you lost anything?”

“No,” he then said.

“What have you been hunting so long?”

He looked confused, turned away his head, and muttered, “Nothing.”

This made me sure he had been hunting something, and I felt a little curiosity to know what it was. But although I asked him again, and offered to help him hunt it, he would tell me nothing. He had a restless and rather unhappy look, quite different from the bright, cheerful eyes and pleasant countenance of Otto.

His father, he said, worked in a mill below the town, and got good wages; so he was allowed half the pay for tending the cattle during the summer.

“What will you do with the money?” I asked.

“O, I’ll soon spend it,” he said. “I could spend a hundred times that much, if I had it.”

“Indeed!” I exclaimed. “No doubt it’s all the better that you haven’t it.”

He did not seem to like this remark, and was afterwards disinclined to talk; so I left him and went over to Otto, who was as busy and cheerful as ever.

“Otto,” said I, “do you know what Hans is hunting, all over the pasture? Has he lost anything?”

“No,” Otto answered; “he has not lost anything, and I don’t believe he will find anything, either. Because, even if it’s all true, they say you never come across it when you look for it, but it just shows itself all at once, when you’re not expecting.”

“What is it, then?” I asked.

Otto looked at me a moment, and seemed to hesitate. He appeared also to be a little surprised; but probably he reflected that I was a stranger, and could not be expected to know everything; for he finally asked, “Don’t you know, sir, what the shepherd found, somewhere about here, a great many hundred years ago?”

“No,” I answered.

“Not the key-flower?”

Then I did know what he meant, and understood the whole matter in a moment. But I wanted to know what Otto had heard of the story, and therefore said to him, “I wish you would tell me all about it.”

“Well,” he began, “some say it was true, and some that it wasn’t. At any rate, it was a long, long while ago, and there’s no telling how much to believe. My grandmother told me; but then she didn’t know the man: she only heard about him from her grandmother. He was a shepherd, and used to tend his sheep on the mountain,—or may be it was cows, I’m not sure,—in some place where there were a great many kobolds and fairies. And so it went on, from year to year. He was a poor man, but very cheerful, and always singing and making merry; but sometimes he would wish to have a little more money, so that he need not be obliged to go up to the pastures in the cold, foggy weather. That wasn’t much wonder, sir, for it’s cold enough up here, some days.

“It was in summer, and the flowers were all in blossom, and he was walking along after his sheep, when all at once he saw a wonderful sky-blue flower, of a kind he had never seen before in all his life. Some people say it was sky-blue, and some that it was golden-yellow: I don’t know which is right. Well, however it was, there was the wonderful flower, as large as your hand, growing in the grass. The shepherd stooped down and broke the stem; but just as he was lifting up the flower to examine it, he saw that there was a door in the side of the mountain. Now he had been over the ground a hundred times before, and had never seen anything of the kind. Yet it was a real door, and it was open, and there was a passage into the earth. He looked into it for a long time, and at last plucked up heart and in he went. After forty or fifty steps, he found himself in a large hall, full of chests of gold and diamonds. There was an old kobold, with a white beard, sitting in a chair beside a large table in the middle of the hall. The shepherd was at first frightened, but the kobold looked at him with a friendly face, and said, ‘Take what you want, and don’t forget the best!’

“So the shepherd laid the flower on the table, and went to work and filled his pockets with the gold and diamonds. When he had as much as he could carry, the kobold said again, ‘Don’t forget the best!’ ‘That I won’t,’ the shepherd thought to himself, and took more gold and the biggest diamonds he could find, and filled his hat, so that he could scarcely stagger under the load. He was leaving the hall, when the kobold cried out, ‘Don’t forget the best!’ But he couldn’t carry any more, and went on, never minding. When he reached the door in the mountain-side, he heard the voice again, for the last time, ‘Don’t forget the best!’

“The next minute he was out on the pasture. When he looked around, the door had disappeared: his pockets and hat grew light all at once, and instead of gold and diamonds he found nothing but dry leaves and pebbles. He was as poor as ever, and all because he had forgotten the best. Now, sir, do you know what the best was? Why, it was the flower, which he had left on the table in the kobold’s hall. That was the key-flower. When you find it and pull it, the door is opened to all the treasures under ground. If the shepherd had kept it, the gold and diamonds would have stayed so; and, besides, the door would have been always open to him, and he could then help himself whenever he wanted.”

Otto had told the story very correctly, just as I had heard it told by some of the people before. “Did you ever look for the key-flower?” I asked him.

He grew a little red in the face, then laughed, and answered: “O, that was the first summer I tended the cattle, and I soon got tired of it. But I guess the flower don’t grow any more, now.”

“How long has Hans been looking for it?”

“He looks every day,” said Otto, “when he gets tired of doing nothing. But I shouldn’t wonder if he was thinking about it all the time, or he’d look after his cattle better than he does.”

As I walked down the mountain that afternoon I thought a great deal about these two herd-boys and the story of the key-flower. Up to this time the story had only seemed to me to be a curious and beautiful fairy-tale; but now I began to think it might mean something more. Here was Hans, neglecting his cows, and making himself restless and unhappy, in the hope of some day finding the key-flower; while Otto, who remembered that it can’t be found by hunting for it, was attentive to his task, always earning a little, and always contented.

Therefore, the next time I walked up to the pastures, I went straight to Hans. “Have you found the key-flower yet?” I asked.

There was a curious expression upon his face. He appeared to be partly ashamed of what he must now and then have suspected to be a folly, and partly anxious to know if I could tell him where the flower grew.

“See here, Hans,” said I, seating myself upon a rock. “Don’t you know that those who hunt for it never find it. Of course you have not found it, and you never will, in this way. But even if you should, you are so anxious for the gold and diamonds that you would be sure to forget the best, just as the shepherd did, and would find nothing but leaves and pebbles in your pockets.”

“O, no!” he exclaimed; “that’s just what I wouldn’t do.”

“Why, don’t you forget your work every day?” I asked. “You are forgetting the best all the time,—I mean the best that you have at present. Now I believe there is a key-flower growing on these very mountains; and, what is more, Otto has found it!”

He looked at me in astonishment.

“Don’t you see,” I continued, “how happy and contented he is all the day long? He does not work as hard at his knitting as you do in hunting for the flower; and although you get half your summer’s wages, and he nothing, he will be richer than you in the fall. He will have a small piece of gold, and it won’t change into a leaf. Besides, when a boy is contented and happy he has gold and diamonds. Would you rather be rich and miserable, or poor and happy?”

This was a subject upon which Hans had evidently not reflected. He looked puzzled. He was so accustomed to think that money embraced everything else that was desirable, that he could not imagine it possible for a rich man to be miserable. But I told him of some rich men whom I knew, and of others of whom I had heard, and at last bade him think of the prosperous brewer in the town below, who had had so much trouble in his family, and who walked the streets with his head hanging down.

I saw that Hans was not a bad boy: he was simply restless, impatient, and perhaps a little inclined to envy those in better circumstances. This lonely life on the mountains was not good for a boy of his nature, and I knew it would be difficult for him to change his habits of thinking and wishing. But, after a long talk, he promised me he would try, and that was as much as I expected.

Now, you may want to know whether he did try; and I am sorry that I cannot tell you. I left the place soon afterwards, and have never been there since. Let us all hope, however, that he found the real key-flower.

Bayard Taylor.


“O I declare,” cried little Sam Perkins, as he opened his eyes and threw his arms above the pillow, “this is Thanksgiving morning, and no mistake! I’m sure it has been a great while coming, but it’s here at last, and won’t we have fine times! Just think of Josey and George and Milly—besides Uncle Ben, and he’s just as good to play with as a boy—all coming to eat Thanksgiving dinner!” And Sam sat up in bed, and was going to give a hurrah; but Jack Frost snapped so savagely at his shoulders that he was glad to lie down and cover himself up again.

“Sam!” said a very mild, soft voice at his door, “it is time to get up, my son! And here are your best clothes all warmed nicely for you,”—and his mother gently opened the door and came in. A sweet-looking lady she was, and the very best mother in the world. At least, so thought Sam; for conscience gave him an uncomfortable twinge when he remembered going to bed “in the sulks” the evening previous, because she did not think it prudent for him to go skating. Sam felt very sorry for this, as he put on the warm clothes, and in the warmth of his honest, blundering little heart he heartily resolved “never to be cross to mother again.”

The cousins came in due time, and before dinner delightful “Uncle Ben” made his appearance. Now this gentleman was rather old, with crow’s-feet at the corners of his eyes, and very suspicious wrinkles on his high forehead; but his voice was just as cheery as if he had never known what care was, instead of having been an itinerant preacher ever since his youth, and oh! his smile,—everybody affirmed there was nothing like it. It did not content itself with twisting the corners of his mouth, but had to run up his cheeks, and play riot with his eyes, and finally hide itself in the crow’s-feet I told you about. A merry man was Uncle Ben, and one who understood children.

After dinner, when the company was all collected in the great family parlor, and the aunts were talking with Sam’s mother about their preserves and pickles, and the uncles telling his father about their crops, the children captured Uncle Ben, and forcibly conducted him into a corner, where he found a big red arm-chair ready for him, with a host of little stools round it, and a whole troop of little tongues clamorous for a story.

“Well! well!” cried Uncle Ben, when all were seated, and as many squeezed into his chair as could possibly stay in it, “what shall the story be? What shall I tell you about? Come, tell me, for I want to begin!”

Each had something different to propose, and the noisy little group (Josey and George and Milly were not more than half of them) were getting pretty warm over it, when Uncle Ben said quietly, “As you don’t seem to decide, I guess I will tell you about Thanksgiving.”

“About Thanksgiving!” cried Sam. “Why, uncle, that wouldn’t be any story at all! We know all about Thanksgiving now. I’m sorry they all made such a noise,”—and Sam, who prided himself on his great faculty of good behavior—in company, put his little cousin Susie down with a strong hand, as she was piping out something about “a ’tory about kittens.”

“Still,” resumed Uncle Ben, “I guess you could learn something more about Thanksgiving than you know now. I shall tell you how Thanksgiving first came about. You know, Sam, that you learned about the Mayflower, and the landing of the Pilgrims, in your history last summer, and what privations they were obliged to endure. I suppose you thought that meant that they couldn’t go to church, or dress as well as they did before, or have as many books to read, or something of that sort. But the truth was, they couldn’t get bread to eat. Their corn did not grow as they expected, and for months they were obliged to live on acorns and other nuts, or on fish, or a little wild meat.”

“Why, uncle,” interrupted Sam, “didn’t they ever have any pie or cake?”

“Not even a slice of bread, my child, until the corn had ripened,” said Uncle Ben, “and Indian bread was the best they could have, even then. But after they had been settled in Plymouth about three years, there came a season when there was no rain. The corn dried up, and so did the beans, and they could not get enough to eat even of nuts or fish. And the men became so very weak from not having enough to eat, that they could not hoe and dig in the fields as hard as they should. So what little struggled through the drought was not properly attended to.

“They could not hire any help, for there were none but Indians around them; and they did not know what they should do. But they appointed a day of fasting, to pray to God for rain and provisions; and while the people were even yet in the church praying, children, the wind came up, and a shower began to fall. The rain kept on for days, until all the corn looked green again. Besides, they heard about that time that some good people in England had sent off a ship with provisions for them, and that she would shortly be in port. So you see how good God was to them, children! They trusted in Him, and tried to be as good as they could; and so He was merciful, and gave them rain.”

“But what would they have done, if God hadn’t made it rain?” asked Cousin George.

“We cannot tell,” replied Uncle Ben; “but they thought they should have starved. And they were so thankful for His help, that they appointed a Thanksgiving day because of His goodness. That was the first Thanksgiving day, my children! Away off in the wilderness near Boston, two hundred years ago! They had a Thanksgiving dinner, too; for provisions came in, so that all had a dinner of bread.”

“Was that all?” cried Sam, who had not forgotten the stuffed turkey he had feasted on an hour before.

“That was all,” said his uncle; “and probably it was a great luxury to them to have at least one full meal.”

“But what made them so poor? What made them come over at all?” asked George, who had not got into history yet.

“Because,” said Sam, with much importance, “a bad king would not let them be Christians, and they came over to America to get to a place where they could think as they wanted to.”

“That is very well said, Sammie,” said his mother, who, unobserved, had joined the group. “And don’t you remember what I read to you from Mrs. Hemans’s works, about remembering the Pilgrims?” And she repeated softly,

“Ay, call it holy ground,

   The soil where first they trod;

 They have left unstained what there they found,—

   Freedom to worship God!”

“Ah, yes!” murmured Uncle Ben; and his pleasant blue eyes suddenly filled with tears. “Let us reverence their memory! But for those brave men and women, we should have had no quiet homes, no peaceful villages, no blessed New England! Let us never forget what we owe to the Pilgrims! And now,”—exclaimed he, turning to the serious little faces beside him,—“now Susie shall have her story about the kittens.”

Mary F. Miller.


I cannot make my young folks understand just the value of the gift which the fairies brought to Little Pussy Willow, unless I tell them about another little girl who did not have any such present, but had everything else.

Little Emily Proudie was born in a splendid house, with a white marble front, and a dozen marble steps leading up to the door. Before she was born, there were all sorts of preparations to receive her,—whole drawers full of little dresses with worked waists, and of little caps trimmed with pink and blue rosettes, and cunning little sacks embroidered with silk and silver, and little bonnets, and little socks and little shoes, and sleeve-ties with coral clasps, and little silver and gold rattles,—in short, everything that all the rich aunts and uncles and cousins of a rich little baby could think of.

To be sure no plant-fairies came in at the window to look at her; but there were the fairies of the milliner’s shop, and the jeweller’s shop, and of all the shops and stores in New York, and they endowed the baby with no end of bright and beautiful things. She was to be handsome and rich, and always to have elegant clothes, and live in a palace, and have fine horses and carriages, and everything to eat and to drink that she could fancy,—and therefore everybody must think that this little girl would be happy.

But this one plain gift that the poor Little Pussy Willow brought was left out in all Emily’s treasures. No good fairy ever gave her the gift of liking everything she had, and seeing the bright side of everything. If she had only had this gift, she might have been as much happier than our Little Pussy Willow as she had more things to be happy with; but as she did not have it, she grew up, notwithstanding all her treasures, to be a fretful, discontented little girl.

At the time I am speaking of, these two little girls are each of them to be seen in very different circumstances. It is now the seventh birthday of Little Pussy Willow; and you might think, perhaps, that she was going to have a holiday, or some birthday presents, or a birthday party. But no, it is not so. Pussy’s mother is a poor hard-working woman, who never found any time to pet her children, though she loved them as much as any other mother. Besides, where she lived, nobody ever heard of such a thing as celebrating a child’s birthday. Pussy never had had a present made to her in all her little life. She never had had a plaything, except the bright yellow dandelions in spring, or the pussies of the willow-bush, or the cat-tails which her brothers sometimes brought home in their pockets; and to-day, though it is her birthday, Pussy is sitting in a little high-chair, learning to sew on some patchwork, while her mother is kneading up bread in the kitchen beside her. There is a yellow mug standing on the table, with some pussy-willow sprigs in it, which have blossomed out early this spring, and which her father broke off for her before he went to his work; and Pussy sits pulling her needle through the gay squares of calico, and giving it a push with the little yellow brass thimble. Sometimes she stops a minute to speak to the little pussies, and touch their downy heads to her cheek, and sometimes she puts up her little mouth to kiss her mother, who comes to her with her hands all covered with flour; and then she tugs away again most industriously with her needle, till the small square is finished, and she says, “May I get down and play now?” And mamma says, “Wait a moment till I get my hands out of the bread.” And mamma kneads and rolls the great white cushion in the bread-bowl, and turns it over and over, and rubs every bit and morsel of loose white flour into it, and kneads it smoothly in, and then, taking it up once more, throws it down in the bowl, a great, smooth, snowy hill of dough, in the middle of which she leaves one fist-print; and then she rubs her hands from the flour and paste, and washes them clean, and comes and takes up Pussy, and sets her down on the floor; and Pussy forthwith goes to a lower cupboard where are her treasures.

And what are they? There are the fragment of an old milk-pitcher, and the nose and handle of a tea-pot, and ever so many little bits of broken china, and one little old sleigh-bell which her grandfather gave her. There is a rag-doll made up on a clothes-pin, which Pussy every day washes, dresses, puts to bed, takes up, teaches to sew, and, in short, educates to the best of her little ability in the way in which she is herself being brought up. And there are several little strips of bright red and yellow calico which she prizes greatly, besides a handful of choice long, curly shavings, which she got at a carpenter’s bench when her mother took her up to the village.

Pussy is perfectly happy in these treasures, and has been sewing very industriously all the morning, that she may get to the dear closet where they are kept. Then for playmates she has only a great, grave, old yellow dog named Bose, who, the minute he sees Pussy get down, comes soberly patting up to her, wagging his tail. And little Pussy gathers all her treasures in her short checked apron, and goes out under the great elm-tree to play with Bose; and she is now perfectly happy.

She makes a little house out of her bits of broken china, arranged in squares on the turf; she ties a limp sun-bonnet on Bose’s head, and makes believe that he is mother to the clothes-pin rag-baby, and tells him he must rock it to sleep; and Bose looks very serious and obedient, and sits over the baby while Pussy pretends to yoke up oxen and go off to the fields to work.

By and by Bose thinks this has lasted long enough, and comes scampering after her, with the sun-bonnet very much over one eye; and then he gets talked to, and admonished, and led back to his duty. He gets very tired of it sometimes; and Pussy has to vary the play by letting him have a scamper with her down to the brook, to watch the tiny little fish that whisk and dart among the golden rings of sunlight under the bright brown waters.

Hour after hour passes, and Pussy grows happier every minute; for the sun shines, and the sky is blue, and Bose is capital company, and she has so many pretty playthings!

When Pussy lies down in her little crib at night, she prays God to bless her dear father and mother, and her dear brothers, and Bose, and dolly, and all the dear Little Pussy Willows. The first part of the prayer her mother taught her,—the last part she made up herself, out of her own curly head and happy little heart, and she does not doubt in the least that the good God hears the last as much as the first.

Now this is the picture of what took place on little Pussy’s seventh birthday; but you must see what took place on little Emily’s seventh birthday, which was to be kept with great pomp and splendor. From early morning the door-bell was kept constantly ringing on account of the presents that were being sent in to Emily. I could not begin to tell you half of them. There was a great doll from Paris, with clothes all made to take off and put on, and a doll’s bureau full of petticoats and drawers and aprons and stockings and collars and cuffs and elegant dresses for Miss Dolly; and there were little bandboxes with ever so many little bonnets, and little parasols, and little card-cases, and nobody knows what,—all for Miss Dolly. Then there were bracelets and rings and pins for little Emily herself, and a gold drinking-cup set with diamonds, and every sort of plaything that any one could think of, till a whole room was filled with Emily’s birthday presents.

Nevertheless, Emily was not happy. In fact, she was very unhappy; and the reason was that the pink silk dress she wanted to wear had not come home from the dressmaker’s, and no other dress in the world would in the least do for her.

In vain mamma and two nurses talked and persuaded, and showed her her presents; she wanted exactly the only thing that could not be got, and nothing but that seemed of any value in her eyes. The whole house was in commotion about this dress, and messengers were kept running backward and forward to Madame Follet’s; but it was almost night before it came, and neither Emily nor any of her friends could have any peace until then.

The fact is, that the little girl had been so industriously petted ever since she was born, and had had so many playthings and presents, that there was not anything that could be given her which seemed half as pretty to her as two or three long clean, curly shavings seemed to Little Pussy Willow; and then, unfortunately, no good fairy had given her the gift of being easily pleased; so that, with everybody working and trying from morning to night to please her, little Emily was always in a fret or a worry about something. Her mother said that the dear child had such a fastidious taste!—that she was so sensitive!—but whatever the reason might be, Emily was never very happy. Instead of thinking of the things she had, and liking them, she was always fretting about something that she had not or could not get; and when the things she most longed for at last came into her hands, suddenly she found that she had ceased to want them.

Her seventh birthday ended with a children’s ball, to which all the little children of her acquaintance were invited, and there was a band of music, and an exquisite supper, and fireworks on the lawn near the house; and Emily appeared in the very pink silk dress she had set her heart on; but alas! she was not happy. For Madame Follet had not put on the flounces, as she promised, and the sash had no silver fringe. This melancholy discovery was made when it was entirely too late to help it, and poor Emily was in low spirits all the evening.

“She is too sensitive for this life,” said her mamma,—“the sweet little angel!”

Emily sunk to sleep about midnight, hot, tired, feverish. She cried herself to sleep. Why? She could not tell. Can you?

Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Having passed Mr. Orley’s gate, Emma, at a sign from Father Brighthopes, ran forward with Kate, while he followed with Laura, still holding her hand.

“I saw you that evening at Mr. Thorley’s,” said Laura, in answer to his questions.

“But you have never yet been to call on me with the other young people. Well, that is very excusable. Young girls like young girls’ society, and it is hardly to be expected that they should care much for an old man like me. You are very fond of Kate, I see.”

Laura was now sorry that, in a moment of confusion, she had insisted on Kate’s accompanying them, for she disliked to confess her attachment to a companion whose parents lived in such a very common house, and could not afford to keep servants. After some hesitation she replied, “My mother says Kate is a very good girl, and she is willing I should play with her sometimes.”

“Your mother is quite right. Kate is a very beautiful girl,—beautiful in spirit and disposition, I mean. I don’t wonder you like her. You have good times playing with her, don’t you?”

“O yes!” cried Laura, quite thrown off her guard by the clergyman’s praise of her poor friend. “There isn’t a girl on the street I like so well.”

“That is saying a great deal. There are a good many girls on the street.—very nice girls too. What a pleasant time you must have had at your party the other night, with such delightful company!”

“O yes! mother says it was a very brilliant party.”

“How did Kate like it?” the old clergyman inquired.

“Kate—she—why—” Laura stammered,—“Kate wasn’t there.”

“How happened that?” said Father Brighthopes. “You invited her, of course.”

“Yes,—no,—that is, mother said she guessed we’d better not ask Kate.”

“That was very thoughtful; for I suppose, if Kate had been there, you like her so much better than you do the other girls, that perhaps your attentions to her would have made them unhappy.”

“O no, that wasn’t the reason!”

“Or you thought Kate would not come, and you did not wish to send an invitation and have it rejected. You don’t imagine Kate feels herself above you, I trust.”

“Above me? No indeed! We live in that great, buff-colored house over there. We keep two carriages, and three horses, and three house-servants, and two men, and my father is very rich. Kate feel herself above me, indeed!” exclaimed Laura. “No; but I’ll tell you the reason we didn’t invite her. Mother says we occupy a very different position in society from the Orleys; and, besides, Kate don’t dress well enough for my parties.”

“My dear child,” then said Father Brighthopes, “which do you think is of the most importance, a good heart and a good disposition, or good clothes?”

“Why, a good heart, of course.”

“And haven’t you said you like Kate better than you do the other girls on the street? You really like her better in her plain clothes than you do them in their fine dresses. Then don’t you see that you pay but a poor compliment to those you invite to your parties? You ask only the beautiful dresses to come;—the really beautiful person, the one you prefer above all the rest, you do not ask at all. You go over and play with her privately, but you are ashamed to acknowledge her before your well-dressed friends.”

“This is my home,” said Laura, humiliated and abashed, stopping at her father’s gate.

“Well, good by, my child. I want you to come and see me some time. In the mean while, we will think over carefully what we have been talking about, and see if we can find out just the truth of the matter.”

Kate stopped too; and Father Brighthopes, taking leave of her and Laura, walked on with Emma.

“Oh!” said Emma, disdainfully, “that Laura Follet is a real stuck-up little creature! Just because her father happens to have money, she thinks she is made; but she don’t know half as much, she isn’t half as generous and good, as Kate.”

“That is generally the way with pride,” said Father Brighthopes. “The most worthy people are, I believe, always the most humble.”

“O, I know that!” said Emma, enthusiastically,—for was not her old friend the very best of men? and who was so simple and humble as he?

“But Laura has a good little heart, with all her vanity,” he went on. “If she prides herself so much on her father’s wealth and what it buys for her, it is because she has not been taught any better. Wealth is an excellent thing. Rightly used, what a blessing it is to us! But when I see young folks—and old folks too, who usually set the example—made selfish and vain and worldly by it, I think it is oftener a curse than a blessing. Poor little Laura! she is beginning very early to sacrifice the realities of life for its mere shows. We must get her to come to some of our parties, Emma, and teach her that truth and friendship are more precious than fine clothes.”

In their very next walk, the old clergyman and his young companion made a call at the buff-colored house. There he saw Laura again, and became acquainted with her mother, with whom he had a long talk, while Laura was showing Emma her new playthings.

He found Mrs. Follet, as he expected, a vain, worldly woman. But, although she placed the highest value upon riches and what she called “position,” she had never found any real happiness in them; she was forever yearning for something better,—she did not know what. And it so happened that a few earnest words he chanced to speak gave her a strange refreshment and satisfaction. She pondered them afterwards, and wondered what it was in them that was so much sweeter than all the fine talk of her genteel friends. The truth is, he had spoken to her heart; he had kindled her faith, her love, her slumbering emotions; he had fed with the bread of life the secret hunger of her soul, which all the riches and honors of the world could never appease.

She was delighted with his sincere and sympathetic manners; and she said afterwards to her husband: “He is really an excellent, extraordinary man; and I have been thinking, what a pity it is he is not a little more genteel!” But she had not thought of this while in the old clergyman’s presence. There was something about him which made her forget there was such a thing as gentility in the world.

The result of this visit was, that, when the young folks came next to spend a half-hour with Father Brighthopes, Laura Follet made her appearance with the rest.

“Only think!” whispered Emma Reverdy, in her old friend’s ear, “she came with Kate Orley, and didn’t seem a bit ashamed of her company!”

It was a pleasant summer evening,—so warm that Father Brighthopes proposed to receive his visitors out of doors. An easy-chair was brought for him to the piazza; and as soon as he was seated they made haste to gather around him, sitting on the steps or on the floor, leaning against the pillars, or on the grassy bank below. The parents of some of the children were present, and they occupied chairs by the door. Emma Reverdy brought a stool, and took her favorite position at the old clergyman’s feet. The sky, seen through the trees, was still bright with the long twilight; a star or two twinkled among the leaves, and the moonlight was beginning to whiten the garden.

“Well, my dear young friends,” said Father Brighthopes, “what are we to talk about to-night? Ah, if I could only know just what you most need to hear! What is it, Laura?”—for Laura was whispering to Miss Thorley.

“She says she wishes you would talk about etiquette,” said the kind schoolmistress.

“Etiquette, my child?” said Father Brighthopes. “What do you mean by etiquette?”

“I mean,”—Laura hesitated, and hid her blushing face behind the honeysuckles,—“I mean, politeness.”

“A very important subject,” said Father Brighthopes, encouragingly. “I am glad you mean that; for, as to etiquette, which has more to do with the mere ceremonies of society, I could not, if I should try, tell you much about that in half an hour. How to behave at table, at church, at parties, at home and abroad,—a little experience will teach you this better than any set of rules. Learn true politeness first, and all the rest will come easy to you. But what is true politeness? Who can tell me? Come, Cary Wilson, you look knowing enough.”

“To make bows, take off our hats, pay compliments, and all that,” said Cary.

“And do everything proper in society,” added Laura, gaining confidence.

“Indeed,” said the clergyman, with a smile, “a person who does faithfully all those things may be called polite. But by and by there comes one who perhaps does not make bows or pay compliments, yet who is the most truly polite person of all. His manners are so gentle, he seems always so regardful of the comfort and happiness of those around him, and all his actions are so simple and natural, that, although he should neglect some ordinary rules of etiquette, he is no less esteemed a thorough gentleman.

“The Latin word politus, from which our terms polite and polished are both derived, applies alike to men and things. It is the same with the French poli, which may be used in describing either a school-boy or his buttons. Our English word polite, however, which was also, a hundred years ago and more, applied to things, is now used chiefly in speaking of men and manners.

“Politeness, as I implied when I spoke of true politeness, is of two kinds. Observe the arms of this mahogany chair. It is a very old chair, but the longer it is used the richer and smoother they become. They are mahogany clear through. But a great deal of the furniture we see is made of some inferior kind of wood, covered with thin strips of a finer sort, called veneering.

“My dear children,” the old clergyman went on, “it is just so with ladies and gentlemen. There are persons of genuine refinement, whose characters are beautified still more by social intercourse. Others are coarse timber, poor sticks perhaps, veneered with a thin, a very thin covering of fine manners. This veneer, I confess, is sometimes so artistically laid on that the sham mahogany passes for the real with careless observers; but it is sure at last to peel off and betray the shabby interior.

“Ah, my children, what you want is the genuine article,—that which will stand hard knocks, exposure, and long service in this rough world. But true politeness comes only from a true nature,—from gentleness and kindness, from refinement and delicacy of feeling, and a sincere desire to make others happy and to avoid giving them pain. How necessary, then, that you should cultivate these qualities, and practise them constantly in youth, before the days come when it will be so hard to learn new habits or unlearn old ones!

“And now, my little friends, I am going to tell you a very important secret,—when, where, and how to acquire true politeness. It is not to be learned at the dancing-school. It is not to be got out of books. Like charity, it begins at home. It is not something that can be put on when you enter society. If you have it not before you go out of your own house, the best you will show to the world will be the veneering I have described. How can you be gentle and kind in society, when you are rude and selfish at home? How can you, without feeling mean and hypocritical, show respect and deference to strangers, who have done nothing for you, while you show none to your own parents, to whom you owe so much?

“I have seen boys tyrannize over their sisters and younger brothers, treating them habitually with haughtiness and brutality,—mere snarling and surly cubs at home,—who, when they put on their best coats for company, fancy that they at the same time can put on good breeding and be gentlemen. But good breeding is as much a part of the person who possesses it as his own flesh and blood. Politeness is a garment which, to fit you naturally and easily, must be worn every day. Be polite, first of all, to your father and mother. O, be very gentle and considerate, my children, in all your behavior towards them! Be generous and affable towards your brothers and sisters and mates. Behave as decorously at your mother’s table as you would at a queen’s. If politeness is good for anything, it is good for family use; and if it is to become a habit of your lives, it must be put in practice at home.

“After it becomes a habit, then you can trust yourselves to appear in any society without fearing to be thought awkward or affected. First be at heart polite, and then act yourselves. Thus you cannot fail to please, or to command respect, wherever you go.”

“But the particular things we are to do,—that is what I want to know,” said Laura, behind the honeysuckles.

“There are a thousand things which a right-minded person will think to do, or to avoid doing, but which another, whose civility is only on the surface, will never perceive. These are the tests of true refinement; and in order to observe them you must have the instinct of politeness,—you must have the benevolence and delicacy of feeling I have insisted on; for they cannot be named or pointed out until the occasion to practise them arrives. There are, however, a few common tests of good breeding which I may mention.

“It never blusters, or brags, or talks much about itself. It does not talk disagreeably loud to people near, or interrupt them while they are speaking. Some people, you know, take an interest only in conversations which are about themselves or their concerns; and they consider their own opinions of so much more importance than anybody’s else that they break forth with them in the most abrupt manner on all occasions. Such persons, however well dressed they may be, or however gracefully they may smile and bow, are very impolite.

“The gentle person, my children, is not only considerate of the welfare and comfort of others, but he even respects their prejudices to a certain degree. He never treats them with rudeness or scorn, merely because they do not think and act as he would have them. And when he feels it his duty to tell them of their faults, or to censure their conduct, he does so frankly and plainly, but with such sincere kindness of manner as often goes further towards winning a man from his errors than the truth itself.

“He is especially affable to servants and inferiors, never forgetting that they have rights and feelings as sacred as his own. He does not show respect to one because he is rich, or treat another with contempt because he is poor, but prizes each according to his real worth. There is another thing no gentleman, or gentle-boy, or gentle-hearted woman or little girl, ever does. Friendship is a precious thing, not to be used solely for your own pleasure and convenience; and to make much of a companion one day, when he is useful to you, and to slight him at other times, when you can do without him, or because you happen to have better-dressed companions,—this is not the part of a generous and true nature, but of a very foolish and selfish pride.

“In conclusion, I have one warning to give: be not too polite. An excessive desire to please often causes weak persons to appear silly and contemptible. Do not think, because civility and regard are due to all, that you must show every chance comer especial attentions, or make companions of people you do not like. And do not suppose that you are to bow and smile on every occasion, and mince your words to suit your company; for only vulgarity does so. True politeness is simple, natural, and cheerful; and the best-bred boys and girls may play as heartily and laugh as loud at their sports as they please.”

At the conclusion of the old clergyman’s speech, the boys came to shake hands with him, and the girls to kiss him,—and a very beautiful picture it was, with the moonlight on his venerable white brow and on the bright young faces around him.

“Ah, my dear children,” said he, “your kisses are very pure and precious; but do not suppose that politeness requires you to give them. It is perfectly polite, and far more honest, to withhold them, when the heart does not give them freely.”

But they kissed him nevertheless.

J. T. Trowbridge.



On swept the igarité containing the crew of our adventurers; on came its kindred craft, manned by savage men, with the little canoe close following, like a tender in the wake of a huge man-of-war. They were not long in doubt as to what would be the upshot of the chase. It had not continued half an hour before it became clear, to pursuers as well as pursued, that the distance between the two large igarités was gradually growing less. Gradually, but not rapidly; for although there were six paddles plying along the sides of the pursuers and only four on the pursued, the rate of speed was not so very unequal.

The eight full-grown savages—no doubt the picked men of their tribe—were more than a fair complement for their craft, that lay with gunwales low down in the water. In size she was somewhat less than that which carried our adventurers; and this, along with the heavier freight, was against her. For all this, she was gaining ground sufficiently fast to make the lessening of the distance perceptible.

The pursued kept perfect silence, for they had no spirit to be noisy. They could not help feeling apprehensive. They knew that the moment the enemy got within arrow’s reach of them they would be in danger of death. Well might such a thought account for their silence.

Not so with their savage pursuers. These could be in no danger unless by their own choice. They had the advantage, and could carry on war with perfect security to themselves. It would not be necessary for them to risk an encounter empty-handed so long as their arrows lasted; and they could have no fear of entering into the fight. Daring where there was no danger, and noisy where there was no occasion, they pressed on in the pursuit, their wild yells sent pealing across the water to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy.

Our adventurers felt no craven fear, not a thought of surrender, not an idea of submitting to be taken captives. By the most solemn asseverations the tapuyo had assured them that it would be of no use, and they need expect no mercy from the Muras. He had said so from the first; but now, after having taken one of their number captive and treated him with contempt, after scuttling their fleet of igarités, their natural instinct of cruelty would be intensified by a thirst for revenge, and no quarter need be looked for by any one who might fall into their hands.

Remembering the hideous creature who had escaped, seeing him again in his canoe as the pursuers came within distinguishing distance, seeing nine of his comrades quite as hideous as himself, and some of them in appearance far more formidable, the statement of the tapuyo did not fail to have an effect.

The crew of the chased igarité gave up all thought of surrender, each declaring his determination to fight to the death. Such was their mood when the savages arrived within bowshot.

The first act of hostility was a flight of arrows, which fell short of the mark. Seeing that the distance was too great for them to do any havoc, the six who had been propelling the igarité dropped their bows, and once more took to the paddles.

The other two, however, with the spare man in the little canoe, were free to carry on their arrowy assault; and all three continued to twang their bows, sending shaft after shaft towards the chased igarité. Only one of the three appeared to have much skill in his aim, or strength in his arm. The arrows of the other two either fell short or wide of the object aimed at, while his came plump into the igarité.

He had already sent three,—the first passing through the broad-spread ear of the negro,—no mean mark; the second scratching up the skin upon Tom’s cheek; while the third, fired aloft into the air, dropped down upon the skin of the peixe-boi that sheltered little Rosa in the bottom of the boat, penetrating the thick, tough hide, and almost impaling the pretty creature underneath it.

This dangerous marksman was identified. He was the hero of the harpoon,—the captive who had given them the slip; and certain it is that he took more pains with his aim, and put more strength into his pull, than any of his competitors.

His fourth arrow was looked for with fearful apprehension. It came whistling across the water. It passed through the arm of his greatest enemy,—the man he most desired it to pierce,—the Mundurucú.

The tapuyo started up from his stooping attitude, at the same time dropping his paddle, not upon the water, but into the igarité. The arrow was only through the flesh. It did nothing to disable him, and he had surrendered the oar with an exclamation of anger more than pain. The shaft was still sticking in his left arm. With the right he pulled it out, drawing the feather through the wound, and then flung it away.

In another instant he had taken up the harpoon, with the long cord still attached to it, and which he had already secured to the stern of the igarité. In still another he was seen standing near the stern, balancing the weapon for a throw. One more instant and the barbed javelin was heard passing with a crash through the ribs of the savage archer! “Pull on! pull on!” cried he; and the three paddlers responded to the cry, while the pursuing savages, astounded by what they had seen, involuntarily suspended their stroke, and the harpooner, impaled upon the barbed weapon, was jerked into the water and towed off after the igarité, like one of his own floats in the wake of a cow-fish.

A wild cry was sent forth from the canoe of the savages. Nor was it unanswered from the igarité containing the crew of civilized men. The negro could not restrain his exultation; while Tom, who had nothing else to do, sprang to his feet, tossed his arms into the air, and gave tongue to the true Donnybrook Challenge.

For a time the pursuers did nothing. Their paddles were in hands that appeared suddenly paralyzed. Astonishment held them stiff as statues.

Stirred at length by the instinct of revenge, they were about to pull on. Some had plunged their oar-blades into the water, when once more the stroke was suspended.

They perceived that they were near enough to the retreating foe. Nearer, and their lives would be in danger. The dead body of their comrade had been hauled up to the stern of the great igarité. The harpoon had been recovered, and was once more in the hands of him who had hurled it with such fatal effect.

Dropping their bladed sticks, they again betook them to their bows. A shower of arrows came around the igarité, but none fell with fatal effect. The body of their best archer had gone to the bottom of the Gapo. Another flight fell short, and the savage bowmen saw the necessity of returning to their paddles.

Failing to do so, they would soon be distanced in the chase. This time they rowed nearer, disregarding the dangerous range of that ponderous projectile to which their comrade had succumbed. Rage and revenge now rendered them reckless; and once more they seized upon their weapons.

They were now less than twenty yards from the igarité. They were already adjusting the arrows to their bow-strings. A flight of nine going all together could not fail to bring down one or more of the enemy.

For the first time our adventurers were filled with fear. The bravest could not have been otherwise. They had no defence,—nothing to shield them from the threatening shower. All might be pierced by the barbed shafts, already pointing towards the igarité. Each believed that in another moment there might be an arrow through his heart.

It was a moment of terrible suspense, but our adventurers saw the savages suddenly drop their bows, some after sending a careless shot, with a vacillating, pusillanimous aim, and others without shooting at all. They saw them all looking down into the bottom of their boat, as if there, and not elsewhere, was to be seen their most dangerous enemy.

The hole cut by the knife had opened. The calking, careless from the haste in which it had been done, had come away. The canoe containing the pursuers was swamped, in less than a score of seconds after the leak had been discovered. Now there was but one large canoe upon the lagoa, and one small one,—the latter surrounded by eight dark human heads, each spurting and blowing, as if a small school of porpoises was at play upon the spot.

Our adventurers had nothing further to fear from pursuit by the savages, who would have enough to do to save their own lives; for the swim that was before them, ere they could recover footing upon the scaffolds of the malocca, would tax their powers to the utmost extent.

How the castaways meant to dispose of themselves was known to the crew of the igarité before the latter had been paddled out of sight. One or two of them were observed clinging to the little canoe, and at length getting into it. These, weak swimmers, no doubt, were left in possession of the craft, while the others, knowing that it could not carry them all, were seen to turn round and swim off towards the malocca, like rats escaping from a scuttled ship.

In twenty minutes’ time, both they and the fishing-canoe were out of sight, and the great igarité that carried Trevannion and his fortunes was alone upon the lagoa.


A volume might be filled with the various incidents and adventures that befell the ex-miner and his people before they arrived at Gran Pará,—for at Gran Pará did they at length arrive. But as these bore a certain resemblance to those already detailed, the reader is spared the relation of them. A word only as to how they got out of the Gapo.

Provided with the Indian igarité, which, though a rude kind of craft, was a great improvement upon the dead-wood,—provided also with four tolerable paddles, and the skin of the cow-fish for a sail,—they felt secure of being able to navigate the flooded forest in any direction where open water might be found.

Their first thought was to get out of the lagoa. So long as they remained within the boundaries of that piece of open water, so long would their solicitude be keen and continuous. The savages might again come in search of them. Prompted by their cannibal instincts, or by revenge for the loss of one of their tribe, they would be almost certain to do so. The total destruction of their fleet might cause delay. But then there might be another malocca belonging to a kindred tribe,—another fleet of igarités not far off; and this might be made available.

With these probabilities in view, our adventurers gave their whole attention to getting clear of the lagoa. Was it land-locked, or rather “tree-locked,”—hemmed in on all sides by the flooded forest? This was a question that no one could answer, though it was the one that was of first and greatest importance.

After the termination of the chase, however, or as soon as they believed themselves out of sight, not only of their foiled foemen, but their friends at the malocca, they changed their course, steering the igarité almost at right angles to the line of pursuit.

By guidance of the hand of God, they steered in the right direction. As soon as they came within sight of the trees, they perceived a wide water-way opening out of the lagoa, and running with a clear line to the horizon beyond. Through this they directed the igarité, and, favored by a breeze blowing right upon their stern, they rigged up their rude sail. With this to assist their paddling, they made good speed, and had soon left the lagoa many miles behind them.

They saw no more of the Muras. But though safe, as they supposed themselves, from pursuit, and no longer uneasy about the ape-like Indians, they were still very far from being delivered. They were yet in the Gapo,—that wilderness of water-forests,—yet exposed to its thousands of dangers.

They found themselves in a labyrinth of what appeared to be lakes, with land around them, and islands scattered over their surface, communicating with each other by canals or straits, all bordered with a heavy forest. But they knew there was no land,—nothing but tree-tops laced together with llianas, and supporting heavy masses of parasitical plants.

For days they wandered through its wild solitudes, here crossing a stretch of open water, there exploring some wide canal or narrow igarapé, perhaps to find it terminating in a cul-de-sac, or bolson, as the Spaniards term it, hemmed in on all sides by an impenetrable thicket of tree-tops, when there was no alternative but to paddle back again. Sometimes these false thorough-fares would lure them on for miles, and several hours—on one occasion a whole day—would be spent in fruitless navigation.

It was a true wilderness through which they were wandering, but fortunately for them it had a character different from that of a desert. So far from this, it more resembled a grand garden, or orchard, laid for a time under inundation.

Many kinds of fruits were met with,—strange kinds that had never been seen by them before; and upon some of these they subsisted. The Mundurucú alone knew them,—could tell which were to be eaten and which avoided. Birds, too, came in their way, all eaten by the Indians, as also various species of arboreal quadrupeds and quadrumana. The killing and capturing of these, with the gathering of nuts and fruits to supply their simple larder, afforded them frequent opportunities of amusement, that did much to beguile the tediousness of their trackless straying. Otherwise it would have been insupportable; otherwise they would have starved.

None of them afterwards was ever able to tell how long this Gypsy life continued,—how long they were afloat in the forest. Engrossed with the thought of getting out of it, they took no note of time, nor made registry of the number of suns that rose and set upon their tortuous wanderings. There were days in which they saw not the sun, hidden from their sight by the umbrageous canopy of gigantic trees, amidst the trunks of which, and under their deep shadows, they rowed the igarité.

But if not known how long they roamed through this wilderness, much less can it be told how long they might have remained within its mazes, but for a heaven-sent vision that one morning broke upon their eyes as their canoe shot out into a stretch of open water.

They saw a ship,—a ship sailing through the forest!

True, it was not a grand ship of the ocean,—a seventy-four, a frigate, or a trader of a thousand tons; nevertheless it was a ship, in the general acceptation of the term, with hull, masts, spars, sails, and rigging. It was a two-masted schooner, a trader of the Solimoës.

The old tapuyo knew it at a glance, and hailed it with a cheer. He knew the character of the craft. In such he had spent some of the best years of his life, himself one of the crew. Its presence was proof that they were once more upon their way, as the schooner was upon hers.

“Going down,” said the tapuyo, “going down to Gran Pará. I can tell by the way she is laden. Look yonder. Sarsaparilla, Vanilla, Cascarilla, Maulega de Tortugos, Sapucoy, and Tonka beans,—all will be found under that toldo of palm-leaves. Galliota ahoy! ahoy!”

The schooner was within short hailing distance.

“Lay to, and take passengers aboard! We want to go to Pará. Our craft isn’t suited for such a long voyage.”

The galliota answered the hail, and in ten minutes after the crew of the igarité was transferred to her decks. The canoe was abandoned, while the schooner continued on to the city of Gran Pará. She was not in the Solimoës itself, but one of its parallel branches, though, in two days after having taken the castaways aboard, she sailed out into the main stream, and thence glided merrily downward.

Those aboard of her were not the less gay,—the crew on discovering that among the passengers that they had picked up were the son and brother of their patron; and the passengers, that the craft that was carrying them to Gran Pará, as well as her cargo, was the property of Trevannion. The young Paraense found himself on board one of his father’s traders, while the ex-miner was completing his Amazonian voyage in a “bottom” belonging to his brother.

The tender attention which they received from the capatoz of the galliota restored their health and spirits, both sadly shattered in the Gapo; and instead of the robber’s garb and savage mien with which they emerged from that sombre abode, fit only for the abiding-place of beasts, birds, and reptiles, they soon recovered the cheerful looks and decent habiliments that befitted them for a return to civilization.

A few words will tell the rest of this story.

The brothers, once more united,—each the owner of a son and daughter,—returned to their native land. Both widowers, they agreed to share the same roof,—that under which they had been born. The legal usurper could no longer keep them out of it. He was dead.

He had left behind him an only son, not a gentleman like himself, but a spendthrift. It ended in the ill-gotten patrimony coming once more into the market and under the hammer, the two Trevannions arriving just in time to arrest its descent upon the desk, and turn the “going, going” into “gone” in their own favor.

Though the estate became afterwards divided into two equal portions,—as nearly equal as the valuer could allot them,—and under separate owners, still was there no change in the name of the property; still was it the Trevannion estate. The owner of each moiety was a Trevannion, and the wife of each owner was a Trevannion, without ever having changed her name. There is no puzzle in this. The young Paraense had a sister,—spoken of, but much neglected, in this eventful narrative, where not even her name has been made known. Only has it been stated that she was one of “several sweet children.”

Be it now known that she grew up to be a beautiful woman, fair-haired, like her mother, and that her name was Florence. Much as her brother Richard, also fair-haired, came to love her dark semi-Spanish cousin Rosita, so did her other dark semi-Spanish cousin, Ralph, come to love her; and as both she and Rosita reciprocated these cousinly loves, it ended in a mutual bestowing of sisters, or a sort of cross-hands and change-partners game of cousins,—whichever way you like to have it.

At all events, the Trevannion estates remained, and still remain, in the keeping of Trevannions.

Were you to take a trip to the “Land’s End,” and visit them,—supposing yourself to be indorsed with an introduction from me,—you would find in the house of young Ralph, firstly, his father, old Ralph, gracefully enacting the rôle of grandfather; secondly, the fair Florence, surrounded by several olive-shoots of the Trevannion stock; and, lastly,—nay, it is most likely you will meet him first, for he will take your hat from you in the hall,—an individual with a crop of carroty hair, fast changing to the color of turnips. You will know him as Tipperary Tom. “Truth will yez.”

Cross half a dozen fields, climb over a stile, under the shadow of gigantic trees,—oaks and elms; pass along a plank foot-bridge spanning a crystal stream full of carp and trout; go through a wicket-gate into a splendid park, and then follow a gravelled walk that leads up to the walls of a mansion. You can only do this coming from the other house, for the path thus indicated is not a “right of way.”

Enter the dwelling to which it has guided you. Inside you will encounter, first, a well-dressed darkey, who bids you welcome with all the airs of an M. C. This respectable Ethiopian, venerable in look—partly on account of his age, partly from the blanching of his black hair—is an old acquaintance, by name Mosey.

He summons his master to your side. You cannot mistake that handsome gentleman, though he is years older than when you last saw him. The same open countenance, the same well-knit, vigorous frame, which, even as a boy, were the characteristics of the young Paraense.

No more can you have forgotten that elegant lady who stands by his side, and who, following the fashion of her Spanish-American race, frankly and without affectation comes forth to greet you. No longer the little Rosa, the protégée of Richard, but now his wife, with other little Rosas and Richards, promising soon to be as big as herself, and as handsome as her husband.

The tableau is almost complete as a still older Richard appears in the background, regarding with a satisfied air his children and grandchildren, while saluting their guest with a graceful gesture of welcome.

Almost complete, but not quite. A figure is absent from the canvas, hitherto prominent in the picture. Why is it not still seen in the foreground? Has death claimed the tapuyo for his own?

Not a bit of it. Still vigorous, still life-like as ever, he may be seen any day upon the Amazon, upon the deck of a galliota, no longer in the humble capacity of a tapuyo, but acting as capatoz,—as patron.

His old patron had not been ungrateful; and the gift of a schooner was the reward bestowed upon the guide who had so gallantly conducted our adventurers through the dangers of the Gapo, and shared their perils while they were “AFLOAT IN THE FOREST.”

Mayne Reid.


There is a story in “The Arabian Nights,” of a Greek king who cut off his physician’s head in order that he might hear it speak when separated from its body. I don’t know whether our curiosity would carry us quite so far, in these more civilized days; but I do know that the announcement of “a speaking head” brings together a great crowd. In the latter part of the year 1865,—I don’t remember the month, but think it was December,—a conjurer in London, known as Colonel Stodare, announced as in preparation a new wonder. Like all other large cities, London is ever anxious for a sensation, and waited impatiently for the new trick, which was to surprise it as conjuring trick never before had done. At last it was ready, and immense placards posted through the streets announced

The Sphinx,—A Mystery,”

as on exhibition at Egyptian Hall. Whether the audience which attended on the first night of its exhibition expected to find that the original article from the banks of the Nile—which Mr. Kinglake, the historian, describes as “more wondrous and more awful than all else in the land of Egypt”—had been bodily transported to that cosey little room, or not, I don’t know; but what they did see astonished them quite as much. When the curtain rose, the stage was discovered draped at the back and sides with heavy hangings, and in the centre of it (the stage) stood a small round-topped table, made with a very slight frame, and without a cloth, or anything about it, which might be used for the purpose of concealment. The exhibitor now entered, holding in his hand a green baize box, about two feet and a half square. “In this box, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “is contained the greatest of modern mysteries. What it is, or by what means the phenomena you are about to witness, are effected, you must decide for yourselves. I can assure you, however, that it is not the result of either ventriloqual or mechanical powers. More than this I do not deem it prudent to say, but will at once proceed with the exhibition.” Approaching the table, he placed the box on it, and having unlocked it, the sides, back and front, which were held together by the closing of the lid, fell apart, revealing “The Sphinx.” This was a human head, decorated with an Egyptian head-dress, and looking as much like a mummy as anything else. The eyes were closed, but at the performer’s command of “Sphinx, awake!” they opened and were turned on the audience, first right, then left, in a most startling manner. The performer next left the stage, and went down into the house, in order to prevent the possibility of ventriloquism, and proceeded to ask a number of questions, to all of which the Sphinx gave apt answers.

The most impressive part of the exhibition, however, was when the Sphinx smiled. One of the morning papers, describing the exhibition, thus commented on it: “There was something so human and yet so devilish in its smile, that it chilled the very marrow in our bones.” To conclude the exhibition, the box was gathered round about the head once more, lifted from the table, and, to satisfy the audience that the Sphinx was yet inside, was carried to the foot-lights, and opened; when lo! there remained but a heap of ashes, where the moment before had been this wonderful head.

The curtain fell, but the audience wanted the performance continued, and at last, in answer to their call, Stodare came forward. “Ladies and gentlemen, you desire a repetition of this most wonderful performance. I would most gladly give it to you, if it was in my power to do so. I had, however, but one Sphinx, and that, as you have seen, has crumbled to ashes. If you will come again to-morrow night, I will promise to have another, equal in every respect to the one which has so pleased you to-night.” They did come, or at any rate his room was crowded the next and many succeeding nights. The Queen saw it and was pleased to be amused at it, and then, when all London had wondered at it, it was brought to this country, and New York and Boston joined London in expressions of amazement.

Many were the guesses as to the way in which it was done. “The voice is conveyed to it by tubes,” said one. “It is ventriloquism, let them say what they may,” said another. And so on, and so on; but none guessed how it was really done, and, as my readers are probably impatient to know, I will explain it to them without further parley.

“The Sphinx” is an optical illusion, and is the joint invention and property of Messrs. Pepper, Sylvester, and Tobin, by whom it is patented in Great Britain and the United States.

The whole trick lies in the table. This is made with a square frame and a round top, and in the centre of the top is cut a hole, fitted with a trap, so as to admit of the head being passed up. The head used is not a mere wax or plaster affair, but real flesh and blood, with the body concealed, and in this concealment of the body lies the secret of the trick. The accompanying illustration will give my readers a better idea of it than all the description I could write. In it is seen a table, with only three legs visible, and under this table sits the person who represents the Sphinx, his head coming up through the trap. In the drawing the body is seen, but when exhibiting—and now we come to “the mystery of the Sphinx”—the spaces between the legs of the table are fitted with mirrors. The mirrors being in their places, the table is placed exactly in the centre, the leg marked No. 2 facing the audience. My readers must remember that the sides and back of the stage are hung with curtains, and the mirrors, being at angles with the sides, reflect the curtains with which they are draped.

The audience, seeing the reflection of the side curtains, imagine that they are looking directly under the table at the back curtains, and never for a moment dream that they are only peering into a looking-glass.

This is the whole mystery of the Sphinx.

The performer when addressing the audience is always careful to get out of the angle of the glass, otherwise he too might be reflected. He generally stands at the “wing,” and always, before approaching the table, walks to the foot-lights, (addressing the audience as a pretext for doing so,) until in a direct line with leg No. 2, and then marches straight to the table. The box which is placed on the table is merely for the sake of effect, and the fumbling in the pocket for the key with which to unlock it, is to give the person who represents the “Sphinx” time to put his head up through the trap.

Mr. Sylvester, one of the inventors, has exhibited the trick in this country and “worked it up” wonderfully. When the “Sphinx” asks for a drink, he throws some paper-shavings in a cup, which he covers for a moment with a handkerchief, and on being uncovered the cup is full of coffee, which is then given to the “Sphinx” to drink. His “Sphinx” vomits forth flames. In fact, there is no end to the things it does,—several very clever little tricks being combined with it, each one helping to make it more attractive. This same gentleman also introduces a lighted candle under his table, to show the audience that he uses no mirrors; but for looking-glasses he substitutes thick plate glass and a combination of lights. In every other respect his “Sphinx” is the same as that I have described.

“The Sphinx,” like many other successes, was an afterthought, but has so far outstripped the trick from which it sprung, as to leave it almost in oblivion.


from which the “Sphinx” originated, has, I believe, never been exhibited in this country, but forms the base of a highly pleasing little entertainment, which in Professor Pepper’s hands has proved very attractive in London and other principal cities of Great Britain.

“Proteus” consists of a cabinet,—somewhat similar to the one used by the Davenport brothers,—and stands on four slight legs, so that the audience may see under it. The audience are permitted to examine the back, in order to satisfy themselves that it is solid; and then the performance begins.

One of the performer’s assistants, and sometimes two or three, enter the cabinet, and the doors are closed. Almost immediately they are opened again, and the cabinet is empty. The gentlemen, who the moment before were seen to go in, have “vanished into thin air.” Again the doors are closed, and, being once more opened, the assistants step out.

The cabinet, which is a plain box about eight feet high and four and a half wide, made with two doors which meet at a post in the centre, is constructed as shown in the illustration. The sides are made double, being hinged at the back, and are covered on one side with some light-colored, fancy wall-paper, and on the other with mirrors. If the false sides are closed, so that they are directly against the sides proper, the audience may with safety be allowed to inspect the cabinet. When the assistant steps in, he pulls the false sides out (the doors being closed, so that the audience do not see this operation) until they meet the post A, and form an angle from it to the back corners of the cabinet, as shown by the dotted lines. The doors are now opened, and, the assistant being in the space between the back of the cabinet and the false sides, he is not seen, whilst the back of the false sides, which now face the audience, being covered with mirrors, reflect the true sides of the cabinet, and it appears to the audience as if they saw the whole depth of it, and as if it were empty.

I hope the explanations I have given are sufficiently clear, and that there is no longer any mystery in the “Sphinx.”

P. H. C.


“Dear mamma, what is the story of the Sangreal?” asked Theodore, as he sat by his mother’s side under the vine-wreathed porch, one bright May morning, while the golden sunbeams stole through the budding leaves, and the birds sang gayly in the tree-tops. “It seems to me that on just such a morning as this a knight of old would have sallied forth in search of some high adventure; and although there are no knights now-a-days, and no fierce dragons to slay, or captive maidens to set at liberty, I love to read the old legends, and sometimes almost wish myself back in those distant days, that I too might be a knight, riding forth with lance in rest to right the oppressed and achieve great deeds of arms.”

There is no need to go back to the olden time, dear Theodore. There are brave knights all around us to-day, fighting against fiercer dragons, and freeing many a captive from more hopeless bondage than any that the Round Table ever dreamed of; and they who will may as truly seek the Sangreal now as in those days of elder chivalry.

The Sangreal, or Holy Grail, so the old legends tell us, was the cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper that he partook of with his disciples. After his crucifixion, “the gentle knight,” Joseph of Arimathea, brought it with him into Britain, where he founded the Abbey of Glastonbury, and where he abode many years. After his death it remained long in the custody of his descendants, and by its beneficent presence shed peace and plenty over all the country round. But the guardian of the Sangreal must be pure in thought, in word, and in deed; and at last it befell that a young monk to whose charge it was committed forgot his vow, and it vanished from the sight of men; and then over all the land of Britain came down the iron age of violence and oppression and distress. At last Arthur ruled over the people, and brought back a little of the old order to the country. And one day, when all the Knights of the Round Table were feasting with the King at Camelot, suddenly a soft radiance illumined the hall, and the air was filled with sweet odors, and there entered the room the Holy Grail, veiled in robes of samite, and passed slowly down the apartment. Then up rose in his seat Sir Gawaine, the courteous knight, and vowed a solemn vow to go upon the pilgrimage of the Sangreal, and one after another the rest of the knights followed his example. Then appeared an old man leading by the hand a youthful knight of fair countenance, and the old man said, “Peace be with you, fair sirs! I bring here a young knight of the line of Joseph of Arimathea,”—and the name of the knight was Sir Galahad. Now at the Round Table there were twelve seats, for the twelve disciples, and one for the traitor Judas, and in that seat none had ever ventured to sit, since a bold Saracen who placed himself therein was swallowed up; and it was called the Siege Perilous from that day. But there sat Sir Galahad unharmed, and on the table before him appeared these words: “This is the seat of Sir Galahad, the good knight.” And they marvelled greatly, and said, “Surely this is he who shall achieve the adventure of the Sangreal.” Then shortly they celebrated a solemn mass, and set forth each upon his own way to seek the Holy Grail. Many a strange adventure had they; but I will tell you only of what befell two of them,—Sir Launcelot du Lac, the bravest and most accomplished of the Round Table, and Sir Galahad, the youngest of them all.

Sir Launcelot du Lac wandered on through pathless forests, and came at last to a stone cross, near which was an old chapel; and, looking through a chink in the wall, Sir Launcelot espied an altar richly decked with silk, and on it a tall branched candlestick of pure silver, bearing lighted tapers. And he would fain have entered, but there was no door, and, sad at heart, he laid him down upon his shield beneath a tree at the foot of the cross. And as he lay between sleeping and waking, there came a sick knight borne in a litter, who lamented and complained, crying, “O sweet Lord, how long shall I suffer thus before the blessed cup shall appear, to ease my pain?”

And then Sir Launcelot saw the candlestick come out before the cross, and the Holy Grail with it, borne on a salver by invisible hands, and the knight was healed of his disease; and then the tapers and the cup returned into the chapel, and all was dark. The knight knelt before the cross, and gave thanks; and as he arose he beheld Sir Launcelot sleeping, and wondered that he could rest thus, while the holy vessel was present near him. “I trow,” said his squire, “that this man is guilty of sins of which he repenteth now, and hath not confessed”;—and they departed, and Launcelot awoke, and wept and sorrowed until the birds sang at the daybreak. Then he arose and wandered on until he came to a place where dwelt a saintly hermit, and to him he confessed his sin; and the hermit absolved him, and ordered him to perform a severe penance; and Launcelot abode with him for a day, and repented him sorely. And it chanced that one night, when the moon shone clearly, he came to a great castle, guarded by two lions. And as he entered he laid hand upon his sword, and it was smitten out of his grasp, and a voice said, “O man of evil faith, trustest thou more in thine arms than in thy Maker?” And Launcelot crossed himself, and the lions suffered him to pass by unharmed, and he came at last to a chamber where the door was shut, and within a voice sweeter than any mortal’s sang, “Joy and honor to the Heavenly Father.” And he knelt down and prayed, and the door opened, and all around was a wondrous brightness, and a voice said, “Enter not, Sir Launcelot!” And in the chamber he beheld a table of silver, and on it the Sangreal, veiled in red samite. And about it stood a throng of angels holding a cross, and the tapers and ornaments of the altar. And then, for very joy and amazement, Launcelot forgot the command, and stepped forward to enter the room, and a hot breath smote him to the ground, and he felt himself lifted up, and borne away, and laid upon a bed; and for twenty-four days he lay there; and in his sleep he saw many a vision of strange and wondrous things. And when he was awakened and had told those about him of what he had seen, they said to him, “Sir, you have seen all that you shall see, and the quest of the Sangreal is ended for you.” Then Sir Launcelot returned thanks unto God for the favors that had been vouchsafed him, and arose, and put on his armor, and betook himself to the court of King Arthur, where he was received with great joy.

Sir Galahad rode forth without a shield upon his journey, and for four days he met with no adventure, and on the fifth he came to a great white abbey, where he met two knights, and they told him that within that place was a shield that none might wear save he who was the one worthy. And on the morrow they heard mass, and then rode to where the shield was hanging; and one of the knights called King Baydemagus, took it and hung it about his neck. Then came riding a knight clothed in white armor, and tilted with King Baydemagus, and overthrew him, and wounded him sorely, for the shield slipped from his shoulder and refused to cover him. And the next day Sir Galahad put on the shield, and it hung in its place, and he rode to the place of meeting, and asked of the white knight a solution of the mystery. And the latter said, “This is the shield of the gentle knight, Joseph of Arimathea, and when he died he declared that none should ever after safely bear it, save only the good knight, Sir Galahad, the last of his line, who should perform many wondrous deeds”;—and speaking thus the white knight vanished from sight. Many great deeds did Galahad, and many a lonely heath and many a gloomy forest, many a pleasant countryside and many a town, did he visit in his wanderings, and at last he came unto the borders of the sea, guided by a gentlewoman, the sister of Sir Perceval. And there they found a vessel, in which were Sir Bohort and Sir Perceval, and they cried out to welcome him. And they passed over the sea to two great rocks, where was a fearful whirlpool; and there lay another ship, by stepping on which they might gain the land. And they entered in, Sir Galahad first. And there they beheld the table of silver and the Holy Grail, veiled in red samite; and they knelt before it, and Sir Galahad prayed unto God, that, whenever he should desire to die, his prayer might be granted, and there was heard a voice saying, “Galahad, thou shalt have thy wish; and when thou desirest the death of thy body, it shall be granted thee, and thou shalt find the life of thy soul.”

And the ship drove before the wind, and came to the city of Sarras. And they took the silver table out of the ship, Sir Bohort and Sir Perceval going first, and Sir Galahad behind. And just without the city gates they met a man upon crutches, and Galahad called him to come and help bear the table; and the cripple arose and bare it with Galahad, although it was ten years that he had not walked without aid.

And the king of that city had just died, and in the midst of the council a voice cried out bidding them choose as ruler the youngest of the three strangers. And when Galahad was king, he commanded a chest to be made of gold and jewels, and he placed the Sangreal therein, and every day he and his comrades knelt down and prayed before it. And when it was a year to a day that Galahad had reigned in that country, he and his friends came to do homage to the holy vessel, and behold, there knelt before it a man in shining raiment, surrounded by a multitude of angels; and he rose up, and said unto Galahad, “Come, servant of the Lord, and thou shalt see what thou hast long desired to see.” And when the king beheld him, he trembled, and the stranger said, “Knowest thou me?”

“Nay,” replied Galahad.

And the man said, “I am Joseph of Arimathea, whom the Lord hath sent to bear thee fellowship.”

Then Galahad lifted up his hands to heaven, and said, “Now, blessed Lord, if it pleaseth thee, I would no longer desire to live.”

Then he kissed his two companions, and commended them to God, and knelt down before the Sangreal and prayed; and before their eyes a multitude of angels bare his soul up to heaven, and a hand came from above and took the Sangreal up out of their sight; and no mortal man has ever since beheld it.

That is the Legend of the Sangreal, my dear boy, and it has its significance for us to-day. For to my mind the search for the Holy Grail symbolizes the pursuit of truth and goodness, to which all of us should consecrate our lives. And to win the eternal truth and beauty down to earth, we must be brave and earnest, pure in heart, self-forgetful, striving ever to realize, so far as we may, our ideal of true manhood and true womanhood. So shall we too be pilgrims of the Sangreal, Theodore. Many, alas! there are who, full of courage, may yet fail, like Launcelot, and only see dimly before them

                        “The vision high,

They may not view with waking eye”;

but there shall yet be found many Galahads who shall achieve the adventure, and, triumphant over temptation, win the prize for which they strove. And it is not only when the day is won that the blessing descends; but upon all earnest effort, even though it fail, upon every upward step in the path of duty, the grace of God is shed, and so it is that Launcelot as well as Galahad, the repentant sinner as well as the always pure, is vouchsafed some glimpse of the Sangreal, and may confer some blessings upon home or the world.

That night Theodore fell asleep, thinking of his mother’s legend; and as he slept there came to him in a dream three angels robed in white, with shining wings, and they bore with them the Sangreal, veiled in red samite, as Launcelot beheld it. And there was present also a youthful knight, of fair and noble aspect, leaning upon a red-cross shield. He smiled kindly upon Theodore, and said, in a voice that was like the ringing of the trumpet: “Dear boy, this veil covers the Sangreal, that since my death no mortal eye hath e’er beheld. Yet many have sought and gained it, albeit they knew it not while they dwelt upon this earth. If thou wilt turn thine eyes upon the surface of my shield, thou shalt behold many a pilgrim of the Sangreal.”

And Theodore looked, and over the polished steel seemed to move a throng of confused figures, that gradually took form and distinctness, until there was visible the semblance of a fierce battle. Mailed knights and turbaned Moors contended in wild strife; back, back was driven the Paynim host,—on rushed a little band of red-cross warriors, far in advance of the main body of their army, their leader sweeping a path before him with his broad claymore. At length they halted to return, when the chief descried in the midst of foes one of his own comrades. “Lo, yonder,” he cried, “is the brave St. Clair; I must succor him or perish!” And swinging his battle-axe above his head, he rode boldly into the midst of the Saracens. But it was all in vain; and, seeing that he could not retreat, he took from his neck the Bruce’s heart which he was bearing to the Holy Land, and kissing, flung it far before him into the battle, saying, “Pass first, my liege, as thy wont was, and Douglas will follow thee or die!” Then above his head Theodore saw the shining wings of angels and folds of ruddy silk swept down upon the fearless brow and the red-cross shield. And when the still night wrapped the dead and dying in its pitying arms, there lay stretched upon his monarch’s heart the Douglas, dead and cold,—his life a sacrifice for a friend.

Again it was a battle-field; but the strife raged at a distance, and near at hand lay a wounded knight, surrounded by sorrowing friends. As Theodore looked, some one approached bringing him a cup of water to lessen his burning thirst. The dying captain took it eagerly; but as he raised it to his lips he beheld at a little distance a wounded man-at-arms, who looked wistfully at the sparkling liquid, and, removing the yet untasted draught from his lips, he said: “Give it to yonder poor man; his need is greater than mine.” But it was with living waters that Sidney’s thirst was slaked in that dying hour, and angels’ hands bore his pure soul above.

Again the scene changed, and over all brooded the long, dreary Polar night. Fiercely waved and danced the flashing Auroras, and the North Star shone steadily overhead. Grim and ghastly in the spectral light loomed the tall, white icebergs,

  “That, like giants, stand

To sentinel enchanted land,”

and bleak and dreary into the distance stretched the ice-plains. In the midst of this desolate waste was a vessel, frozen fast to the floe, and in her were sick and dying men, worn with hunger and privation and cold, who had come into this land of horror seeking the lost mariner.

On the deck stood a pale, slender man, the captain of the band. He gazed sadly upon the waste of snow, at the cold, pitiless stars and the imprisoned vessel, and tears, that flowed, not for his own, but others’ sufferings, for disappointed hopes, for the memory of the dead, filled his eyes. And in the shifting pictures upon the shield, Theodore saw how through the long winter hours he tended the sick, soothed the pillow of the dying with words of hope and trust, led the rescue or the exploring party, welcomed the returned deserters, made the wild natives friends, worked and toiled, considered nothing too hard, nothing too low, that his hand could find to do, forgetful of himself, and

    “Living defiant of the wants that kill,

Because his death would seal his comrades’ fate.”

And through all these ghastly horrors, and on the perilous homeward march, and when the Polar darkness melted into the soft light of Cuban skies, Theodore saw ever upon his path, cheering him on, the soft radiance of the Sangreal, and pitying angels folded him in their wings, while the glory that had lightened his way through the icy solitudes lent an added radiance to his peaceful death-bed.

Again the picture changed, and the boy was looking into a ward in a military hospital. Down the room were ranged long rows of beds, on which lay the wounded and the dying from many a hard-fought fight. A door opened, and a woman entered with a lamp in her hand. She passed slowly and quietly along, stopping almost at every step to perform some little kindly office, to give this man a cooling drink, to bathe the hot brow of another, to give pleasant smiles and words of cheer and sympathy to all. And as she moved, strong men blessed her in weeping, and a tall Highland soldier raised himself upon his cot to kiss her shadow as it fell upon the wall. So pure and good she seemed, that Theodore almost thought her worthy to be a bearer of the mystic cup that gleamed above her head, and seemed to lend its own brightness to the little lamp she held.

And many another picture showed Sir Galahad, the good knight, to Theodore. Noble men, whose names the great world knew not, working patiently and earnestly for truth’s sake and the right,—caring for the poor, the slave, the sinner,—forgetful of self, and living but that others might be better and happier for their heroic lives. Women, nursing the sick, teaching the ignorant, raising the fallen, shedding a sweet and holy influence upon all around them.

And Theodore looked with wonder and with awe, as he beheld the long line of pilgrims who sought the Sangreal unawares, and though the old legends were but symbols, yet they brought to men the peace and joy and happiness that, of old, men believed to flow from the holy vessel. And what that night Theodore saw and heard in his dream of the Sangreal, he treasured up in his heart, and it made him strong, and brave, and ready when the time should come to give himself for others and the Right.

Years had passed away, full of mingled joy and sorrow, since Theodore saw in his dreams Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail, and gazed upon the long line of pilgrims of all ages, climes, and stations moving over the surface of his shield. Many changes, many great events, had occurred since then. The country, then so peaceful, was now torn with civil strife; the great sin and curse of the nation had brought down ruin and misery upon the innocent as well as the guilty; and all the air was filled with martial music and waving banners, and the earth shook beneath the heavy tread of marching columns.

Into Theodore’s peaceful New England home had come the stern summons, and with a brave heart he responded to his country’s call. “I go to be a pilgrim of the Sangreal, dear mother,” he said. “Do you remember the dream I had so long ago? I shall follow now in the path of Galahad and Douglas, of Sidney and Kane. God grant that, if I fail of earthly success, I may seek and find the heavenly glory!”

Time passed away; weary and long it seemed to the sad mother in her lonely home, watching and waiting for news of her absent boy; but busy and short and hurried to the youthful soldier, working with heart and hand, braving all dangers, welcoming all privations in his country’s service.

It was the night before the battle of Antietam, and as Theodore, full of thought of the morrow, closed his eyes in sleep, there came to him Sir Galahad, leaning upon his red-cross shield, and smiling upon him with a brother’s greeting. “Thou too shalt join our band, Theodore,” he said. “Thou hast ever remembered the lessons that I taught thee, and now, with hosts of others, the latest pilgrims of the Sangreal, thou hast come to sacrifice life for duty,—to give thyself for thy country and for freedom. I welcome thee, pure in heart and life, brave and generous in act, to the fellowship of the blessed dead.”

And when another night descended upon the weary earth, and shrouded in its pitying mantle the horrors of the battle-field, they who came, careless of rest, to seek and save the wounded and the dying, found him lying upon a heap of slain, his drawn sword in his hand, and upon his face a smile of heavenly purity and peace.

Surely upon the soil that has thus been watered by the blood of martyrs only freedom shall henceforth flourish. The follower of the Douglas said to the Spanish king,—

“The soil that drank the Douglas’ blood

 Shall never bear the Moor!”

and the earth that is drenched with the blood of our heroes shall never again endure to be trodden by a slave.

Annie T. Wall.


A great king once had a favorite son, whom he wished to educate in all the virtues and accomplishments which could adorn a prince. Therefore he resolved that his son should not be weakened by indulgence nor spoiled by the flatteries of a court; and to this end the young prince was sent into a distant province of the realm, where he might breathe the fresh air from the mountains, and draw from the soil the strong and vigorous life of the peasant, while he learned by daily contact the nature of the people whom he was to rule.

For the wise king well knew that no boy can become learned by mere instruction, nor strong by the services of others,—that he can have, in fact, no real power but what he acquires for himself; and he desired that his son should be a king not in name only, but in fact, by being stronger and wiser than his subjects. As kingship, therefore, was the trade to which the boy was to be brought up, his good father wished him to serve an apprenticeship at governing; and the province which had been assigned him as a school was also given to him for his own kingdom.

The royal charter was made out nearly in these words: “Have thou dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Beside these three classes of subjects were thousands of well-trained servants, who were also fitted to perform the office of teachers; but these were not mentioned in the charter; indeed, they were to remain out of sight for the present, and to serve the prince only so fast as he learned the spell by which they could be summoned, and complied with the conditions which they were instructed to impose. None of the comforts of a royal palace were provided: the prince was to enjoy these whenever he should learn to procure them for himself; meanwhile, he slept on the ground and shared the common kindly gifts of Nature with the poorest of his subjects.

Three faithful servants, Eyes, Ears, and Hands, stood very near him all the time, and he probably knew the usefulness of these from the first; but the rest he began to learn only after a severe course of instruction. And this is the way his education began:—

“I am hungry,” said the prince.

“Will your Royal Highness be pleased to gather some acorns?”

“But I shall be hungry to-morrow, and the next day, and after the acorns are gone.”

“Perhaps your Royal Highness will have the condescension to dig and plant and reap,” was the reply.

“Certainly; but must I dig with my fingers?”

“Until you can find something better;—there is iron underground which you may some time be able to command.” But the last was spoken aside, so that the prince did not quite understand it.

Under the teaching of Necessity he began to dig, and erelong the bounteous earth, which is as kind to princes as to beggars’ sons, rewarded him with a golden harvest. He found, indeed, that just beneath the surface of the soil were millions of little Forces all ready to supply his wants; and the dropping of the seed, followed by an occasional visitation of the hoe, by way of reminder, was the only hint they needed of his sovereign will.

The same stern tutor soon hinted to his pupil that a better dwelling might be found than the dismal cave or hollow trunk of a tree which had afforded him shelter. But what to build of?

“There is wood in the forest,” said Eyes; and the prince found that houses for millions of men were growing all around him, if only the shaping and planing tools were applied.

By this time he was growing wiser,—perhaps prouder.

“This wigwam is no abode for a king,” said he.

“There is stone in the quarries,” said Eyes again.

True enough, there it was, glittering granite, smooth sandstone, and white marble; but how to take it out? Hands tried, but stronger hands were holding it down to the earth; and here the prince made acquaintance with the great Giant Gravitation, who appeared in those early days somewhat like an enemy, but proved, when better known, his firmest friend and ally. To conquer this friendly resistance of Gravitation, another useful servant was found,—a simple creature called “Lever,” but who had a power of using and combining his forces in so great a variety of ways that he did almost all the work that the young sovereign needed of a mechanical kind.

Provided thus with food and a palace, you might think our young monarch in a fair way to possess his kingdom; but this was hardly a beginning. At first, he knew not even enough to keep himself from becoming sick; and though he is considered much wiser to-day, it must be confessed that in this respect he is almost as ignorant as ever he was. Even sickness, however, proved a teacher; for it forced him to search for the gifts of healing through all the borders of his realm. He found at length that under every leaf in the forest, in every fibre of its bark, and at every root, lurked some good spirit, that, if he could only learn its charm, would heal some one of his pains.

It is true that these humble little servants did infinite harm when they received the wrong direction; but that surely was no fault of theirs. It was only as the prince, their master, learned their spell, that he could command them at all; and so stupid a scholar has he been, that to this day he often reads the spell backwards, and is served in a way just opposite to that which he desires.

And this is a curious fact concerning all these servants of our race. Each has a mystic word by which alone he can be summoned, and fixed laws of his being under which only he will act. The monarch, therefore, must serve a little apprenticeship at obeying before he is able to command. Many claimants to the crown have failed to secure their kingship, only by neglecting or refusing to comply with this rule.

Let us see how these teachers are accustomed to deal with refractory pupils.

“I shall go where I please,” says the scholar, “without regard to your strict, tyrannical rules.”

“Ah! very well, then, I’ll just swallow you,” says Ocean.

“I’ll burn you,” says Fire.

“I’ll break your bones,” says Gravitation, out of one of his great yawning caverns.

“I won’t obey you.”

“Then you’ll get a blowing up,” cries the White Giant, with a great roar.

“I will not spend my time in studying your tiresome roots and leaves.”

“Die then in your ignorance. It is all the same to us,” reply these plain-dealing subjects.

But at last the man comes who will obey, and he is their king. To him the soil gives up its fruits and the mountains their treasures, the sea its wealth and the forests their innumerable virtues; and he, patient and submissive, who learns the rule of all and obeys it, becomes the ruler of all. As the years go on, he finds new forces around him, and, by obeying them, extends his dominion into wider realms. His two hands, that were his first and almost his only servants, are now promoted to do only the finer work. The great forces that he has called from their hiding-places have built his palaces, bridged great rivers, and bound together the remotest corners of his kingdom. They run upon his errands quickly as the lightning; they carry his wealth across the ocean with great wings of steam; they make him the omnipotent ruler of the world, just in the degree that he perfectly obeys their laws. If he infringes their rights but for a moment, any one of them is ready to take his life.

As yet, it must be said, our young prince has only learned to call a few of his servants by their names, and often fails in his efforts to give his commands even to these, and enforce their obedience. But he is improving year by year,—his wealth increasing in exact proportion to his diligence and obedience; and no one can tell how great will be his power, when the whole of his vast kingdom shall be reduced to his control.

Elsie Teller.



No. 20.

The sun had set, but no moon shone;

  Forerunners of the worst,

Gray clouds were flitting o’er the sky,

  And thus there fell my first.


Under these clouds a tavern stood,

  Full of uproarious glee;

For guests were there who laughed and sang,—

  My second thus you see.


Darker and darker grew the night,

  The howling wind was heard,

Blowing almost a hurricane,

  And in it see my third.


The travellers stopped their noisy laugh

  To listen to the storm;

They feared the little tavern next

  Would from the earth be torn.

But rising o’er the storm they heard

  Sweet notes that thrilled the soul;

Throughout the storm their hearts were cheered

  By the singing of my whole.

O. O.

No. 21.

My first like a laggard is always behind;

In the form of one thousand my second you’ll find;

And yet for my whole, should you search the world round,

In the morning or evening ’twill never be found.

T. G.



No. 18.

475.1 4 + 4 5 12 “1776” “1865” 4 a French 1000! 0 10 10 10 10 40 ’500.


No. 19.

My whole has four letters, with vowels but one.

You have it, I have it, and each mother’s son.

Behead me, the three letters left will express

What we all have or had, sir, some more and some less.

Take my head off again, and my word never doubt

When I say, if you guess it you’ll not find it out.

T. G.

No. 20.

Whole, I am a spirit.

Behead me, and I am a multitude.

Behead me and transpose me, I am a drunkard.

Curtail me, I am an adverb.

Behead me again, and I am an exclamation.







22.Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.
23.The Skeleton in Armour.
24.Aucun chemin de fleur ne conduit à la gloire.


16.The letter E.

Illustrated Rebus.

28.Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle. [Le (jeu) ne (veau) pas la (chandelle).]
29.Cats purr, dogs bark, cocks crow, a cow lows, a donkey brays, an eagle screams, parrots talk, spiders tick, mankind laugh and cry. [(Cat) (spur) (dogs) (bark) (cocks) (crow) (A C) (owl) (o’s) (A D on key) B (re’s) an (eagles) (creams) (parrot) (stalk) (spider) (stick) (man) (k in D) (la fa) nd c (rye).]


We have something to tell you, dear Young Folks, which we hope you will find both interesting and important, and so we wish you to be very careful and pay particular attention to everything we say. Our Publishers have decided to offer you some prizes to induce you to help them in getting up some “great big” clubs of new subscribers for the next year, and they have asked us to explain to you what their plan is. They propose to give four prizes for the largest four clubs that are made up before the first of February, 1867, and the only condition is that the clubs shall consist entirely of new subscribers.

These prizes are to be given in money, and they are as follows:—

For the largest club, Two Hundred Dollars. 
For the next largest club, One Hundred and Fifty Dollars. 
For the next largest club, One Hundred Dollars. 
For the next largest club, Fifty Dollars. 

And, in order that those of you who do not succeed in earning one of these four great premiums shall not go unrewarded for the time and trouble you may take in canvassing, the Publishers will give a prize of Five Dollars for each club of Twenty-five new names which is not included in one of the four principal lists. That all may have time to send their lists, even from the farthest points, the award of the prizes will not be made until the first day of March, 1867, when the Publishers will bestow upon the successful canvassers their premiums.

Now for some instructions. 1. As soon as you have collected a sufficient number of names, forward the list to Messrs. Ticknor and Fields, 124 Tremont Street, Boston, with a dollar and a half for each name, writing very plainly the name and address of each subscriber, signing your own name and address in full every time, and writing at the head of your sheet of paper “First (or second, or fifth, as the case may be) Prize List from Stephen Brown, or Ellen Mansfield,” or whatever your name is. 2. In remitting, always send a Post-Office Order, or a Draft payable in Boston or New York to the order of Ticknor and Fields. 3. Mail your last list on or before January 31, 1867, as no list mailed after that day will be accepted in the competition. 4. Send these lists to the Publishers of the Magazine, and not to the Editors, who have nothing to do with the printing or distributing of copies, with the receipt of subscriptions, with the change of addresses, or with anything except the preparation of the reading and the pictures which are contained in the numbers. 5. If you wish a receipt for your remittance, say so in your letter, and enclose an envelope stamped and directed to yourself.

And now, little friends, having repeated to you the whole of our message, we leave you to set about winning the prizes, which seem to us to be very encouraging to effort. On the cover you will find the Prospectus for 1867, which tells all about the plans of our Magazine for the next year, so that you can know just what you are going to work for. You cannot all get the big prizes, but very many of you can earn one or more of the small premiums, and we hope you will.

Your sincere friends,



Minnie V. writes us a nice little letter, and desires us to ask our friends and hers to make a plain sentence by the use of one vowel from the consonants she has arranged here: vnthmnrvrncdhr.

Frank D. A. Thank you for your letter. You are making progress, certainly.

Squirrel. Don’t fear our laughing at your sketches. We are too much pleased with the kind attentions we receive to be critical where there is no pretence.

The Reproachful Button” is a pleasant sketch, but hardly sufficient for us.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 2, Issue 11 edited by J. T. Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom]